Jammu and Kashmir government has informed the High Court that none of the National Conference leaders on whose behalf the party president Farooq Abdullah and vice president
Omar Abdullah have filed habeas corpus petitions was detained.
On July 13 Farooq Abdullah filed petitions seeking release of NC leaders namely Ali Muhammad Sagar, Abdul Rahim Rather, Nasir Aslam Wani, Aga Syed Mehmood, Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Irfan Shah and Sahmeema Firdous from house detention.
Besides, Omar Abdullah also challenged the detention of NC leaders Muhammad Shafi Uri, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, Chaudhary Mohammad Ramzaan, Mubarak Gul, Dr Bashir Veeri, Abdul Majeed Larmi, Basharat Bukhari, Saifudin Bhat Shutru, Mohammad Shafi through their counsel Adv Shariq Reyaz.
In the last week of July, the Court had issued notice to government for filing objections to these pleas.
Senior Additional advocate General, B A Dar said that government has chosen to file same response to all the 16 petitions.
The court has ordered clubbing of all these petitions and listed them for hearing on August 24.
In its response to the plea of Aga Syed Roohullah, the government has said that “it is true that in the wake of Constitutional Amendments carried out in the Article 370, it was apprehended that inimical elements may disturb the peace and petitioner may provoke them to cause aggravation in the disturbance. However, no order of detention either under preventive detention law or substantive law was issued against him.”
The government has informed the court that “at no point of time the petitioner had been kept under detention”.
The petitioner, the government said, is and was free to move with certain precautions as deemed fit for his security. “Being a categorized person, the petitioner has been advised like other protected persons not to visit any vulnerable area without informing the concerned authorities so that proper security arrangements were made for his safety and security”.
The government told the court that after August 5, 2019 when J&K Organization Act was passed in the Parliament, sweeping security measures were taken to maintain law and order, as well as to safeguard lives of people including those being directly protected by the Government by provision of security as Personal Security officers, guarded government accommodation, bullet resistant vehicles and escort personnel boarding government provided vehicles.
“Being a protected person, it is well within the charter of duties of respondents to ensure the safety and security of the petitioner and also to ensure that he is not exposed to any kind of attacks”.
In its response, the government further reveals that “in view of the strong inputs regarding the overall security atmosphere prevailing in Jammu & Kashmir and also designs of enemy country to destabilize the security situation and law and order, an advisory thereof was also issued by the Security Headquarters advising all the protected persons to take precautions and not to venture out un-necessarily”.
The government said the status of the petitioner is that of a protected person and as a coronary of it there would be always police personnel around him acting as a security cover so as to fend off any possible attack on his person.
“The security personnel acting as his PSOs and residential guard together may not be understood as his having been taken into any kind of custody. It is emphatically denied that currently or in the past any detention order is in the force against him or the petitioner kept under any sort of restraint” government tells the Court.
The government submits that there is no infringement or brazen violation of the law and the authorities have shown utmost respect to the law of the land.
The government in its response further reveals that “It is not only surprising but shocking as well that the petitioner has approached the court alleging that he is under detention, because there is no legal proceeding currently underway or even contemplated which would have entailed his arrest/detention”.