If Omar Abdullah is being released, he should be released soon or his sister's petition would be heard on its merits, the Supreme Court today told the centre, asking for a response by next week on the former Chief Minister detained in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Now that things are settled in Kashmir, what are your instructions for his (Omar Abdullah's) release," the Supreme Court asked the government, asking for a response by next week.
"We heard someone else has also been released," said the court.
Last week, Omar Abdullah's father Farooq Abdullah, also a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was freed after detention in his Srinagar house for seven months.
The Abdullahs are among scores of political leaders detained since August 5, when the government ended special status to Jammu and Kashmir and converted it into two union territories.
Judges Arun Mishra and MR Shah told counsel appearing for the centre that Omar Abdullah's sister Sara Abdullah Pilot's plea against his detention would be heard on merit if he was not released soon.
"If you are releasing him, then release him soon or we will hear the matter on merits," the judges said.
The observations came after counsel for the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration informed the court that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, the government's top lawyer, was arguing in another court.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mr Abdullah's sister, said the court should fix a short date for hearing the case. The court said only six benches were functioning.
"Probably next week we are sitting and the matter will be taken up at that time," the bench said.
In her petition, Sara Abdullah Pilot says her brother had been detained on the basis of posts "that are non-existent have been wrongly, maliciously attributed to (Omar Abdullah)".
The government's reasons listed in Omar Abdullah's detention order "does not even remotely lead credence to the apprehension he was likely to indulge in activities prejudicial to maintenance of public order", said her petition.