Farooq Abdullah Denied Parliament Attendance: Experts Weigh in
On 18 November, opposition members demanded that Farooq Abdullah should be released from house arrest.
On Monday, 19 November, members of the Opposition lashed out at the government over the absence of sitting Lok Sabha MP from Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah.
The National Conference leader and former J&K chief minister was put under house arrest in Srinagar in the aftermath of the Centre abrogating Article 370.
On 16 September, hours before the Supreme Court hearing Rajya Sabha lawmaker Vaiko's plea, the central government detained Abdullah under Public Safety Act, which enables detention without a trial for up to two years. Vaiko had alleged that Abdullah was being disallowed to attend peaceful gatherings in Kashmir.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury stepped up the attack and said the NC supremo has been under detention for 106 days and it is his constitutional right to attend the House.
But can Farooq Abdullah legally be denied attendance at the Parliament session if he has been placed under house arrest?
Constitutional expert Subhash C Kashyap said, “While the Parliament is going on, no member of Parliament can be arrested without informing the Speaker or the Chairperson, as the case may be. The detaining authorities have to inform the Speaker or the Chairperson within 24 hours about the detention of the member of the Parliament.”
Responding to a flurry of queries on Monday, 18 November, Lok Sabha Spaker Om Birla said that a written information of Abdullah’s detention was received by the house secretariat confirming that he was under house arrest.
Senior advocates Sanjay Hegde and Dushyant Dave also reiterated what Kashyap said.
The Speaker added that Home Minister Amit Shah was technically correct when he said, in a previous session, that at that time Abdullah was not under house arrest. The confirmation was received at a later date.
Opposition leaders also raised the issue of MPs not being allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir after scrapping of its special status, whereas parliamentarians from Europe had been let in.
"Our leader, Rahul Gandhi, was not allowed to visit (Jammu and Kashmir), several MPs were sent back...whereas kidaye ke tattu (hired sycophants) from Europe were being taken there. Isn't it an insult to all MPs? I want to ask MPs of ruling alliance, don't they think it was their insult?" Chowdhury said.
Many leaders in Kashmir, including former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah’s son Omar Abdullah, have also been kept under house arrest since the abrogation of Article 370 in the Valley on 5 August.
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