The detention of Saifuddin Soz, senior political leader in Jammu and Kashmir, has reached the Supreme Court, which has issued a notice to the Centre and the administration of the Union Territory regarding his release. The 82-year-old has been under informal house arrest since August, when the Centre ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under the Constitution and bifurcated it into two union territories.
Appearing for the Mr Soz's wife, who had filed the appeal challenging his arrest, Congress's veteran lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the house arrest is illegal and has been done without a single document.
"Mr Soz is a law- abiding, peaceful Indian citizen. He has not committed any breach of peace. Keeping him under detention for a long time is a violation of his right to life and personal liberty," Mr Singhvi said.
Mr Soz has been under arrest since August 5, 2019, the petition filed by his wife read. It also said Mr Soz was denied his right to make a representation against his arrest.
The lawyers for the petitioner pointed out that early hearing in the case involving former Chief Minster Omar Abdullah led to his release and requested an early date for the next hearing. But the court declined and said the next hearing would be in the second week of July
Hundreds of political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were arrested in August last year and the stringent Public Safety Act was invoked against many of them.
In March, days before the countrywide lockdown was announced, the Abdullahs were released. While Mehbooba Mufti was allowed to shift home, she is still officially under detention.