How long will Mehbooba Mufti’s detention last, Supreme Court asks govt

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) administration whether they intend to continue to keep former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti in detention, asking them to explain the maximum duration for which a person can be held in preventive custody under the law.

An apex court bench headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul was hearing a corpus petition filed by Mufti’s daughter, Iltija, challenging her mother’s detention under the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows a person to be held without trial for a maximum one year for acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order and for two years for acting prejudicially to the security of the country.

“You should address us on two issues — one, what is the maximum period for which a person can be detained and two, what is your proposal and how long do you propose to continue the detention,” the bench, which also comprised justice Hrishikesh Roy, told solicitor general Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and the Union territory administration.

Mufti was among hundreds of people detained in 2019 to prevent protests against the Centre’s move to divest J&K of its special status through the nullification of the Constitution’s Article 370 and to divide the region into two Union territories.

Iltija alleged that her mother’s continued detention was because of her refusal to sign a general bond affirming that in case of release, she would not make any comment on, deliver any speech or attend any public assembly related to the changes pushed through in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehta told the court that Mufti had been detained on the grounds that her conduct could lead to public order issues, which allow a person’s detention for a period of one year under the PSA. “Considering the ground of detention, can you detain her beyond one year,” justice Kaul asked, asking Mehta to respond at the next hearing.

Mehta informed the court that the J&K administration had filed a counter affidavit on the matter.

The counter-affidavit filed by the district magistrate (DM), Srinagar, stated that the detention order was based on the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority and the sufficiency or adequacy of material cannot be a matter of judicial review.

Iltija argued that Mufti’s detention was based on a dossier compiled by the Srinagar police superintendent which is replete with personal remarks against her and was in bad taste.

Source link