Hearing the case of an NRI businessman who has been detained in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) following the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 in the state, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the state administration why it has not filed a reply on the plea by his wife demanding his release.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Asifa Mubeen, the wife of Malaysia-based businessman Mubeen Ahmad Shah, seeking quashing of the August 7 order for his detention under section 8(1)(a) of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana observed that the matter relates to “personal liberty” and the J&K administration should have filed its reply on the plea.
“Why have you (J&K administration) not filed the reply?” said the bench, also comprising justices R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, adding, “This is a matter regarding personal liberty. You should have filed the reply by yesterday”.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the J&K administration, said he would file a reply on the petition within a day.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for the petitioner, told the bench that superintendent of Agra jail, where Mubeen Ahmad Shah has been kept, has filed his reply on the petition and said the health of the businessman is fine.
The bench, however, said the affidavit filed by the jail superintendent is of October 4 and asked Mehta to tell the officer concerned to file a fresh report in this regard.
The apex court has posted the matter for hearing on October 24.
On September 20, the top court had asked the J&K administration to respond to the plea, which has sought a direction to the authorities to produce the businessman before the court.
In her plea, Asifa Mubeen has said that her husband is currently lodged at Agra Central jail and has been “wrongfully deprived” of liberty.
“The detenu (Shah), a senior and well respected citizen of India, a qualified doctor and leading NRI businessman based in Malaysia with a serious medical illness, has been illegally deprived of his life and liberty for more than 40 days since August 5, 2019,” the plea said.