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After 7 months, Supreme Court to hear plea against detention of Mehbooba Mufti today

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New Delhi, Sep 29: The Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear a Habeas Corpus plea challenging the detention of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti under the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA).

Mehbooba Mufti

It can be seen that the plea filed by Mufti's daughter Iltija will be heard by a bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy more than 7 months after it was last heard on February 26 when the top court had issued notice to the central government and union territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

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On February 26, the court had ordered the case to be posted for further hearing on March 18 but it was never listed after COVID-19 pandemic broke out and the apex court started functioning through video conference.

Iltija submitted that the detention of Mufti is based on vague and slanderous ground demonstrating personal and political bias against her. It was contended that the detention order of February 5 against Mufti was founded upon a dossier prepared by the Superintendent of Police, Srinagar which itself was replete personal remarks against Mufti and in bad taste.

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"The detention order is wholly based on the dossier which is slanderous, libelous and clearly demonstrative of the political and personal bias against the detenu (Mehbooba Mufti)," the Habeas Corpus petition stated.

The term Habeas Corpus literally translates to "produce the body" and it is a plea seeking directions to be issued to the government to produce a detained person before the court and to release such person if the detention is found to be illegal.

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    Mufti has been under detention since August 5, 2019 when the central government nullified Article 370 and placed the Kashmir valley in a state of lockdown. Her detention in 2019 was under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which empowers an executive magistrate to order a person to execute bonds "for keeping the peace".

    She had been in custody for six months and her detention was set to expire in February 2020 when a new detention order was issued on February 5 under the PSA which allows the administration to detain a person without trial for a maximum period of two years.

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