On Iltija Mufti’s plea, SC asks GoI ‘how long it proposes to continue detention of Mehbooba Mufti’

New Delhi: On the habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti at the Supreme Court of India, the Government of India (GOI) was asked whether it proposes to continue the preventive detention of Mufti.

According to a report by a Delhi based newspaper Hindustan Times, a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the GoI to inform the top court about its proposal with regard to Mufti.

Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter, Iltija had filed a habeas corpus petition in SC earlier challenging her mother’s detention under Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA). The act allows the administration to detain a person without trial for a maximum period of 1 year in prejudicial to maintenance of public order and for two years in prejudicially to the security of the country.

Mehbooba has been in detention since August 5, 2019, when GoI stripped JK of its semi-autonomous status, revoked its statehood and split the erstwhile state into two Union Territories. She has been in custody for six months, which was set to expire in February 2020 but then new detention was passed under PSA.

In 2019, Mufti’s was detained under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which empowers an executive magistrate to order a person to execute bonds “for keeping the peace”.

“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 report quoted Justice Kaul saying GoI’s second senior-most law officer, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

On this, Mehta said: “she has been detained on the grounds that her conduct could lead to public order issues. He also informed that the GoI has filed a counter affidavit in the matter.”

Mufti’s daughter claimed that her mother’s detention is continued because of the refusal to sign a “general bond”, affirming that in case of release, she will not make any comment, deliver any speech or attend any public assembly related to the recent events in JK.

IItija has submitted that the detention of Mufti is a based upon dossier prepared by the superintendent of Police, Srinagar.

Quoting Iltija, the report said that dossier has abounded with vulgar description and unwarranted remarks about Mufti like “Daddy’s girl” and “Kota Rani”, the latter medieval queen who rose to power through scheming and poisoning of opponents.

Iltija had also mentioned that Mufti’s detention was based only on the grounds contained in the dossier and those grounds have “no tendency to disturb public order”.

The court adjourned the matter for October 15 after IItija sought permissions to file an amended petition.


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