SC seeks J&K's response to plea challenging house arrest of Soz

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought response of Jammu and Kashmir administration on a petition filed by octogenarian Congress leader

Saifuddin Son

’s wife on Friday challenging her husband’s

house arrest

confinement since August 5 last year.
Appearing for Soz's wife, senior advocates A M Singhvi and P Chidambaram told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and

Indira Banerjee

that despite the lapse of 10 months, authorities have not yet provided reasons for detention Soz, who has never disturbed public tranquillity in his long unblemished political career and whose allegiance to

Indian Constitution

has never been in question.
The bench sought response of the J&K administration by July second week brushing aside fervent pleas by both senior advocates to advance the date of hearing to June last week.
Mumtazunnisa Soz, through advocate


Fernandes, said in her petition that “ten months have passed since his first detention, and he is yet to be informed about the grounds of detention. All efforts made by him to obtain a copy of the detention orders have been of no avail due to illegal and arbitrary exercise of powers by the

Union Territory

of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Referring to the acclaimed literary activities of Soz and his past contributions as Union minister, she said, “he is a law-abiding, peaceful Indian citizen. He has not committed any breach of peace; neither has he disturbed the public tranquillity nor is he likely to do any wrongful act that will occasion a breach of the peace or cause any disturbance of public tranquillity. However, Soz has been detained and put under house arrest since August of 2019 and the reasons for detention and arrest have never been informed till date, thereby making his detention not only illegal, malafide and unconstitutional but also extremely appalling.”
Non-provision of grounds of detention has deprived him of the right of representation against the order confining to his house, she said. “An effective representation can only be made by a detenu when he is supplied relevant grounds of detention, including materials considered by detaining authority for arriving at the requisite subjective satisfaction to pass the detention order. Since the material is not supplied to the detenu, the right of the detenu to file such representation is impinged upon and the detention order is resultantly vitiated,” she said.
“Soz is a man of letters and is of an academic bent. His conduct, both prior to and post the revocation of the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, has been peaceable... He has always advocated for the Union of India and consistently upheld the Constitutional principles, respect for the nation and vehemently opposed and separatist or anti-India voices in J&K (despite his daughter being kidnapped by such forces),” she said.
“He has consistently demonstrated unwavering loyalty to the Indian Constitution even in the face of separatist threats. He, therefore, cannot be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be a threat to public safety. For someone who has been following constitutional methods for his entire long and storied career cannot at this advanced stage, even be suspected of having any intention whatsoever to do anything against Constitutional values. Furthermore, there is no track record or criminal antecedent of the detenu in respect of such an offence,” she said.

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