The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to respond to a petition by MDMK leader Vaiko that sought production of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and allowed Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami to return to Jammu and Kashmir.
Is Farooq Abdullah under detention, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked the central government’s second most-senior law officer Tushar Mehta when it took up a petition by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, or MDMK leader Vaiko.
The Tamil Nadu politician had filed a habeas corpus (literally means, produce the body) petition for enforcement of Farooq Abdullah’s fundamental right under freedom of speech and expression and right to liberty.
When the top court asked Tushar Mehta to spell out if Farooq Abdullah was under detention, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that he will need to get instructions from the J&K administration.
Tushar Mehta had argued against the court issuing notice to the government on the petition, arguing that Vaiko did not have a locus standi in this case. The three-judge bench, also comprising justices SA Bobde and Abdul Nazeer, however, went ahead and told the Centre to respond before September 30 when it will take up the petition again.
In his petition, Vaiko said National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah was to participate in the birth anniversary celebrations of late Tamil Nadu chief minister, CN Annadurai, also the founder of the Dravidian movement, on September 15. But he could not be located because of his alleged detention by the government.
Farooq Abdullah’s status has been a little controversial in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly after Home Minister Amit Shah told the Lok Sabha that the former chief minister had not been detained or arrested but was at home “out of his own free will”.
Farooq Abdullah had hit out at the government within minutes, insisting that he had been under house arrest. “Dictatorial authority has been invoked and not a democratic authority that we thought they will invoke. I don’t know how many have been arrested. Nobody is allowed to come in or go out, we are under house arrest,” he said, according to news agency PTI.
Restrictions were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre scrapped special status for the state and carved it into two states on August 6.
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