New Delhi, September 16
The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Administration have been asked by the Supreme Court to respond to a plea seeking that former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, allegedly under detention following the scrapping of the state’s special status, be produced before the court.
A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer issued notice to the Centre and the state, and fixed Rajya Sabha MP and MDMK leader Vaiko’s plea for hearing on September 30.
Vaiko, who said he has been a close friend of Abdullah for the past four decades, has contended that constitutional rights conferred on the National Conference leader had been deprived of on account of “illegal detention without any authority of law”.
In his plea, Vaiko had said that authorities should allow Abdullah to attend a “peaceful and democratic” annual conference, being organised in Chennai on September 15, on the occasion of birthday of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C N Annadurai.
“The actions of the respondents (Centre and Jammu and Kashmir) are completely illegal and arbitrary and violative of the right to protection of life and personal liberty, right to protection from arrest and detention and also against right to free speech and expression which is the cornerstone of a democratic nation,” the plea has said.
“The right to free speech and expression is considered to have paramount importance in a democracy as it allows its citizens to effectively take part in the governance of the country,” it said.
Vaiko said he had written a letter to the authorities on August 29 to allow Abdullah to travel to Chennai to attend the conference but they have not responded.
He has said he had spoken to Abdullah over phone on August 4 and had invited him to attend the conference on September 15.
He claimed Abdullah had “verbally communicated” that he would be glad to attend the conference but on August 5, Abdullah along with other political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir were placed under “wrongful detention”.
The Centre had on August 5 revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two Union Territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. PTI