The Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy on Tuesday allowed the amendment of the writ petition filed by Iltija Mufti seeking the release of her mother Mehbooba Mufti. Owing to the COVID-induced restrictions, Iltija Mufti’s petition could not be heard since February 2020. In her amendment application, she had requested the inclusion of additional grounds of challenge and prayers after the J&K administration extended the PDP chief’s detention under the PSA on May 5 and July 31.
While refusing to grant blanket permission for the resumption of Mehbooba Mufti’s political activities, the apex court directed the authorities to promptly act on a visitation request in accordance with the law. Moreover, it asked for the counter-affidavit to be placed on record and sought the J&K administration’s reply to the amended writ petition in a week’s time. The SC also observed that a rejoinder can be filed within a week thereafter. The matter will come up for hearing on October 15.
SC asks J-K administration to respond to Iltija Mufti’s fresh plea challenging detention of her mother Mehbooba Mufti under Public Safety Act
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) September 29, 2020
According to Iltija Mufti, the former J&K CM was being deliberately kept out of bounds for party people and to carry out her duties as PDP president. Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter in her petition has also demanded appropriate compensation for the “illegal detention” that the PDP chief has suffered and to award the costs of the litigation to the petitioner. Other directions sought from the SC include visitation rights and reinstallation of the landline telephone connection.
Mehbooba Mufti’s prolonged detention
Mehbooba Mufti served as the Chief Minister of J&K for just over two years in an alliance with BJP. However, she resigned on June 19, 2018, after BJP withdrew support from the government. Multiple leaders including her and NC’s Farooq and Omar Abdullah were detained in August 2019, when a presidential notification along with the passage of requisite legislation in both Houses of Parliament resulted in Article 370 becoming virtually redundant.
Additionally, the state was bifurcated into the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh. In April, she was shifted to her Gupkar Road residence in Srinagar. This was designated as a subsidiary jail by the J&K administration.