The Tamil Nadu-based Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party's (MDMK) General Secretary Vaiko has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court to produce former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, the party has stated.
Vaiko, who is also a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, sought a direction from the Supreme Court to grant Abdullah liberty to attend a conference in Chennai which is scheduled for September 15.
Vaiko told the court that for several years, he has been organizing a conference in Chennai on the occasion of the birthday of Thiru C N Annadurai, the late 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 had written 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, but failed to get any response.
“The actions of the respondents (government) are completely illegal and arbitrary and violates 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 filed by Advocate G Ananda Selvam on Vaiko's behalf stated.
Vaiko’s lawyer stated that the refusal to allow Farooq Abdullah to attend the peaceful and democratic conference is illegal and arbitrary as well as violates Article 21, Article 22 and Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
It may be recalled that after the abrogation of the Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the central government has detained various leaders including Farooq Abdullah.