New Delhi: A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, on Monday refused to further entertain a habeas corpus petition filed by Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko to know the whereabouts of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.
Chief Justice Gogoi said “nothing survives” in the petition after learning that the National Conference party leader was detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) hours before the court hearing. “Nothing survives in this case,” Chief Justice Gogoi remarked, disposing of the case.
The court said persons concerned could, if necessary, approach the competent authority against the PSA charges.
Vaiko’s counsel had submitted that Dr Abdullah was believed to be “under detention” and there was no access to him. He was scheduled to visit Chennai on September 15 for a programme following the Centre’s move on Article 370.
At that point, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had remained non-committal, merely saying that he would have to take instructions on Vaiko’s claims.
Meanwhile, the Bench tagged all other petitions challenging the J&K lock-down and lack of access to basic facilities to a Constitution Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana. It is scheduled to start hearing of another batch of petitions seeking to revoke the dilution of of Article 370, which led to the abrogation of the special status enjoyed by the Kashmiri people for decades.
The petitions also challenged the Centre’s “unilateral” move to change the status of J&K a State to a Union Territory.
Sending the petitions challenging the on-going lockdown in J&K the CJI remarked orally “we don’t have time to hear so many matters. We have a Constitution Bench case going on… These petitions will be now heard by the Kashmir Bench”.
The Constitution Bench case refers to the Ayodhya appeals which is on the 34th consecutive day of court hearing. Two judges on the Bench which were so far hearing the J&K lockdown petitions — the CJI and Justice S.A. Bobde, the second senior most judge in the apex court — are part of the Ayodhya Bench. The Ayodhya Bench is on a deadline to finish the court hearings by October 18. The appeals are being heard from Monday to Friday till 5 p.m.