[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Sana Iltija, daughter of Peoples Democratic President (PDP) chief and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti to meet her mother in private in Srinagar.
The PDP chief is under detention like several other leaders in the Valley since August 4 evening, a day before Centre announced cancellation of state’s special status and its division into two Union Territories.
Hearing her plea, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices SA Bobde and Abdul Nazeer, however, maintained that Iltija would require permission of the local administration to move around Srinagar.
Appearing for the Centre and the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta respectively said she had the option to move the District Magistrate for such permission, wondering why she filed petition in the Supreme Court.
At this, CJI Gogoi retorted that being a citizen of the country she had the privilege to move the top court, asking, “What is the objection in her going to meet her mother?”
In her petition, Iltija has alleged she has not once been permitted to see her mother since she has been detained. She claimed her own movements were restrained by the authorities without the authority of law.
The petition accessed by The Leaflet submits before the apex court that the petitioner desires to meet her mother, inspect for herself the facility in which she has been detained and to be able to speak to her mother in privacy.
“The period of restraint, restriction, intimidation and hostility that the Petitioner faced from August 6, 2019 to August 22, 2019 has caused profound chilling effect on the exercise of her freedoms under Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution and apprehends that her access to her mother in Srinagar will be interfered with by the unlawful acts of the Respondents’ authorities, if she ventures to do so”, says the petition reads.
The petitioner has also highlighted the reports that her mother has been kept in solitary confinement and poor sanitary facilities were causing her grave distress.
The petitioner has sought court’s protection during her visit to Srinagar to regain access to her mother and speak in privacy to her mother and with regularity.
Petitioner also apprehended that the government authorities may impose similar unlawful, unjustified and arbitrary restraint and restriction on her movements and treat her with unwarranted hostility if and when she reached Srinagar.
Claiming that she had no political affiliations other than being a daughter of her mother who is a politician and a public figure, she further maintained in her plea, “There is no rationale for the State to apprehend that the Petitioner’s presence in Srinagar or her personal visit to her mother would in anyway aggravate the prevailing situation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Petitioner has clarified to the court that the reliefs claimed in her plea have no bearing on other rights and remedies available to either the petitioner or her mother.
“The present proceedings shall not in any way be construed to have an admission or a statement as to the legality, constitutionality, reasonableness or justifiability of the detention of the Petitioner’s mother, and shall cause no prejudice whatsoever to the rights and remedies available under the law to the Petitioner’s mother, including any proceedings that she may initiate to challenge her detention,” the petitioner submitted.
The petition drawn by and filed through advocates Prasanna S and Aakarsh Kamra, prayed for the direction from the apex court to issue an ad-interim ex-parte order or direction to enable and facilitate the petitioner to visit her residence in Srinagar and also meet with her mother in private at her detention centre for atleast an hour and inspect the facility in which her mother is detained once and to enable her return to Delhi.
It has also demanded issuance of an ad-interim ex-parte order or direction to ensure that during her visit, the petitioner did not face any kind of hindrance, restriction on movements, or intimidation or hostility.