SC seeks response from Centre, J&K in plea on detention of Soz

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The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and J&K Kashmir administration on a plea of former Union minister and senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz’s wife challenging his house arrest since August 5 last year.

A bench headed by Justices Arun Mishra issued notices to the Centre and the J&K administration, asking them to respond by second week of July to the plea of Mumtazunnisa Soz, wife of the octogenarian leader.

Mumtazunnisa has also sought the production of veteran leader before the Court and the quashing of the house arrest order.

She has alleged that till date the reasons for the detention have not been supplied to them and they were unable to challenge the arrest under the Public Safety Act.

“This makes his detention not only illegal, mala fide and unconstitutional, but also extremely appalling,” she said.

Soz was put under house arrest after the Centre abrogated certain provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, granting special status to J&K.

During the hearing, senior advocates AM Singhvi and P Chidambaram, appearing for Soz’s wife said the house arrest has been made without providing a single document.

Singhvi said that Soz was 82-year-old and the plea should be heard urgently by next week. The bench said that it would hear the plea in second week of July.

In her plea, Mumtazunnisa said the detention of Soz was wholly contrary and perverse to the constitutional safeguards laid down under Articles 21 (right to life) and 22 (right to know the reasons of arrest), as well as the law on preventive detention.

“Not only does it attract the vice of unconstitutionality, it is also in contravention of the statutory scheme of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978, under which the detention has purportedly been made,” she pleaded.