SC asks J&K admin to respond to plea challenging detention of Saifuddin Soz


New Delhi, June 8: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to a petition challenging the house arrest/detention of senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Saifuddin Soz for the past 10 months.

The habeas corpus petition filed by his wife Mumtazunnisa Soz sought to know his whereabouts, The Hindu reported. A virtual court Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra listed the case for the second week of July.

Mr. Soz has been detained since August 5, 2019 when the special rights given to Kashmiri people under Article 370 was abrogated and the State of Jammu and Kashmir was reorganised into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

“Ten months have passed since his first detention, and he is yet to be informed of his grounds of detention. All efforts by him to obtain a copy of the detention order(s) have been of no avail due to the illegal, arbitrary exercise of powers by the government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” the petition, filed through advocate Sunil Fernandes and represented by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, said.

Mr. Singhvi argued that “the authority making the order(s) of detention did not communicate to the detenu the grounds on which the order has been made, and no copy of the detention order was provided despite repeated attempts”.

He said Mr. Soz was denied the right to making a representation against the order(s) of detention, in flagrant abuse of constitutional guidelines, as well as the statutory scheme. By keeping the latter under a prolonged, indefinite detention, the authorities indulged in the violation of his right to life and personal liberty.

His detention was wholly contrary and perverse to the constitutional safeguards laid down under the right to life and personal liberty, as well as the law on preventive detention. “Not only does it attract the vice of unconstitutionality, it is also in stark contravention of the statutory scheme of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978,” the petition said.

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