SC allows congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit J & K

The Indian Supreme Court on Monday allowed senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit Jammu and Kashmir but said he cannot hold any political rally. A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said Azad, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, can visit four districts -- Srinagar, Jammu, Baramulla and Anantnag -- to meet people.

The bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer, was told by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for Azad, that he wants to meet the people and inquire about their welfare. Singhvi said Azad had tried to visit the state thrice but was turned back from Srinagar airport.

Azad, who has filed the petition in his personal capacity, had said on Sunday that it was "apolitical". In his plea, Azad has also sought a nod from the top court to visit his family members and relatives. In his petition before the top court, Azad has also sought permission to check on social conditions after a clampdown was imposed by the authorities following the scrapping of Article 370 that gave the state a special status.
Also on Monday, the apex court today sought a response from the Indian government and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea seeking to produce before court former chief minister Farooq Abdullah who is allegedly under detention following the scrapping of the state's special status.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer issued a notice to the Indian government and the state on a plea filed by a Tamil Nadu party leader Vaiko who said he is a close friend of Farooq Abdullah for the past four decades and that constitutional rights conferred on the National Conference leader had been “deprived of” on account of "illegal detention without any authority of law".