SC to Centre on Mehbooba: Can detention be forever?

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SC to Centre on Mehbooba: Can detention be forever?
New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Tuesday said detention cannot be forever and asked the Centre whether former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s detention be extended beyond a year.

The remarks were made by a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul during the hearing of Iltija Mufti’s plea challenging her mother’s and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader’s detention order under Public Safety Act (PSA) and its subsequent extensions.

Justice Kaul queried Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, “How long Mufti has been in detention and what were the grounds?”

The bench specifically wanted to know could the detention be extended beyond one year.

Mehta, justifying the detention, said it has been done on “public order grounds”.

Justice Kaul said the court wanted to know for how long such detention can be extended. “Can it be prolonged for so long?”

Mehta urged the court not to record any observations. Justice Kaul replied these observations were questions of the court.

Mehta said: “I will address my lords on questions on facts and law.”

The Solicitor General cited the statements made by Mufti as having an impact on public order.

Justice Kaul replied that sometimes one could say a lot of things, which are not supposed to be said.

Mehta submitted that such things should not have been said in a state which has a history of militancy. The top court allowed the Centre to file a reply in the matter addressing the maximum period of detention, and whether detention is proposed to be continued.

The bench noted that one of the prayers in Iltija’s plea was to grant permission for the family to meet her. Iltija’s counsel argued that even in prisons people are allowed to meet kin.

The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on October 15.


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