A new Supreme Court bench will on Friday hear a petition by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah's sister Sara Abdullah Pilot challenging his detention under the Public Safety Act.
The plea has been listed for Friday before the new 2-judge bench, also comprising Justice Indira Banerjee, after a judge had recused himself from hearing the matter without citing any specific reason.
Sara Abdullah Pilot's plea had come up for hearing before a 3-judge bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, MM Shantanagoudar and Sanjiv Khanna.
Sara Abdullah Pilot had on February 10 approached the top court, saying the order of detention is "manifestly illegal" and there is no question of her brother being a "threat to the maintenance of public order".
The petition said that on the intervening night of August 4-5, 2019, Omar Abdullah was put under house arrest and it was later learnt that section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was invoked to justify such arrest.
It said "similar orders of detention have been issued by respondents (authorities of union territory of Jammu and Kashmir) over the last seven months in a wholly mechanical manner to other detainees, which suggest that there has been a consistent and concerted effort to muzzle all political rivals".
The plea said there could be no material available to detain a person who has already been detained for previous six months and the "grounds for the detention order are wholly lacking any material facts or particulars which are imperative for an order of detention".
"In fact, a reference to all public statements and messages posted by the detenue during the period up to his first detention would reveal that he has kept calling for peace and cooperation - messages which in Gandhi's India cannot remotely affect public order," it said.
The plea said that at no point of time in his "prolific political career", he has resorted to or indulged in conduct unbecoming of a "conscientious public figure".