Farooq Abdullah & Omar Abdullah - National Conference
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NEW DELHI — Defending the prolonged detention of its former chief minister Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety Act (PSA), the Jammu and Kashmir administration submitted in the Supreme Court that the National Conference (NC) leader continues to be a threat to public order and that his past activities would show how he is prejudicial to tranquillity in the region.

The J&K administration asserted that Omar’s presence would pose an “imminent threat of deterioration of maintaining the public order”.

The affidavit, submitted by the District Magistrate before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, emphasized that Omar’s detention has been valid and also stands approved by the Advisory Board on February 24.

Questioning why Omar has chosen neither to file his representation before the Advisory Board nor has he approached the High Court there, the affidavit states that documents clearly indicate that “there exist live and proximate links in the events that occurred in the past, the activities of the detenue and the possibility of such activities being prejudicial to the public order.”

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The DM added, “It is submitted that the acts, which are easily available in the public domain, on the part of the detenue squarely fell within the realm of public order, as it was calculated to disturb public peace and tranquillity. It is needless to emphasize that the incitement of the public at large pertains to public order.”

The affidavit further said that Omar has been a very vocal critic of any possible abrogation of Article 370, even prior to its abrogation on August 5, 2019.

“It is submitted that considering the very peculiar geo-political position of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, and its geographical proximity with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the concept of public order needs to be examined contextually,” said the DM.

The administrative officer also stated that since Omar has been supplied with material facts and particulars under the latest detention order of February 5 but he “purposefully” failed to make a representation before the Board.

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About the Supreme Court going into grounds of detention, the affidavit said that there is a very limited scope of judicial review in a matter like this and a court cannot substitute its own opinion for that of the detaining authority.

Pleading for dismissal of the petition filed against Omar’s detention by his sister Sara Abdullah Pilot, the affidavit maintained that in view of the ratification orders passed by the Advisory Board and subsequently notified by the J&K administration, his detention was neither illegal nor unlawful.

The top court, on Monday, heard Sara’s petition briefly during which the DM’s affidavit was placed on record. The detailed arguments will now take place on March 5 (Thursday), by when Sara can file her response to the DM’s affidavit.

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