NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea seeking to produce before court former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who is allegedly under detention following the scrapping of the state's special status.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer issued a notice to the Centre and the state and fixed Rajya Sabha MP and MDMK leader Vaiko's plea for hearing on September 30.
Vaiko, who said he is a close friend of Abdullah for the past four decades, has contended that constitutional rights conferred on the National Conference leader had been deprived of on account of "illegal detention without any authority of law".
Vaiko, also a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, sought direction from the Court five days back to grant Abdullah liberty to attend a conference in Chennai.
The conference is being organised by Vaiko on September 15.
Vaiko told the court that for several years, he has been organising a conference in Chennai on the occasion of the birthday of Thiru. C. N. Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
He has invited Abdullah to grace the occasion, which he agreed to attend. Vaiko said that Abdullah had attended the previous editions of the Conference also.
However, on or around August 5, 2019 Abdullah was placed under detention in Srinagar and despite his efforts, he was unable to contact him.
Vaiko has written a letter to authorities of Jammu and Kashmir to allow Abdullah to travel to Chennai in order to attend the conference in the interest of freedom of speech and in the spirit of encouraging democratic participation.
However, Vaiko did not get any response.
"The actions of the Respondents (government) are completely illegal and arbitrary and violative of the right to protection of life and personal liberty, right to protection from arrest and detention and also against right to free speech and expression which is the cornerstone of a democratic nation," the plea said filed by Advocate G. Ananda Selvam on Vaiko's behalf.
"The right to free speech and expression is considered to have paramount importance in a democracy as it allows its citizens to effectively take part in the governance of the country."
Vaiko said that the refusal to allow Farooq Abdullah to attend the peaceful and democratic conference is illegal and arbitrary and violative of Articles 21, 22 and 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
After the abrogation of Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the government has detained various leaders including Abdullah.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)