The Supreme Court was taken aback on Friday when Yasin Malik, the commander of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), appeared before it, as there was no prior order from the top court for his in-person appearance. The Central government also expressed concern about Malik’s physical presence in the Supreme Court, given that he is currently serving a life sentence in Tihar Jail after being convicted in a terror funding case. Malik was supposed to attend a hearing on a CBI plea against a Jammu court order.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, informed the court that there was no order from the top court mandating Yasin Malik’s physical presence. He stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued directions not to bring him out of jail. Nonetheless, Malik was unexpectedly presented before the top court for the CBI plea against the Jammu Court order, which raised serious security concerns, according to Additional Solicitor General SV Raju.
The bench of justices, Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta, recused from hearing the matter, but they pointed out that there was no such order issued by the court for Yasin Malik to appear before it. They also highlighted that virtual modes of appearance in the court are available.
Justice Kant listed the matter for another hearing in four weeks, ensuring that it would be heard by a different bench, with Justice Datta not being a part of it.
The CBI had filed an appeal against the order of the Additional Sessions Judge in Jammu, which had issued a production warrant against Yasin Malik in two separate cases. The Jammu Court had sought Malik’s physical appearance for cross-examination of witnesses in relation to the killing of four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel and the abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, in 1989. However, the Supreme Court had stayed the Jammu Court’s order in the last hearing.