SC asks J&K govt how much longer it wishes to keep Mehbooba Mufti in detention

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government how much longer and under what order it wanted to keep former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in detention.

The top court was hearing a petition filed by Iltija, the daughter of Mehbooba Mufti, seeking the immediate release of her mother Mehbooba Mufti from detention.

A two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and also comprising Justice Hrishikesh Roy, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Jammu and Kashmir government, to file his reply to the amended application filed by Iltija.

Senior lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for Iltija, submitted that Mufti has not been allowed to meet her family members. Justice Kaul later allowed time for a week to the Centre to file a detailed response and fixed the matter for further hearing to October 15.

“Detention for how long and under what order against Mehbooba Mufti? What is the maximum period and whether you can extend it beyond it one year?” Justice Kaul asked.

The bench also asked Mehta how long the Centre proposes to extend the detention. The Supreme Court noted, detention cannot be for forever and “some via media” may be explored for this.

Mehta sought some time to file his response and said, “we will address the court on these issues within a week.”

In July, Mufti’s detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) was extended by three months.

Mufti and many other leaders of Kashmir, including Farooq Abdullah, were put in detention following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on August 5 that accorded special status to the erstwhile state. Earlier, Farooq, and son Omar Abdullah, were released from detention in March.

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