Supreme Court reserves pleas challenging Jammu and Kashmir curbs

No connection: Newspaper offices and other media houses still function without Internet in Kashmir.

No connection: Newspaper offices and other media houses still function without Internet in Kashmir.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice N.V. Ramana, on Wednesday reserved the petitions filed by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin against the restrictions on movement, communications and press freedom in Jammu and Kashmir.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing senior Mr. Azad, questioned the claim made by the Jammu and Kashmir government that normalcy has returned to the Valley and people are happy.

“You [government] claim things are normal in Kashmir. But you were the one who made it abnormal. For example, what is the point of saying there is no crime when no FIR is registered on complaints... What is the logic behind saying there are no traffic violations when people cannot take out their cars in the first place...” Mr. Sibal argued.

He said when security personnel in the Valley could very well identify the troublemakers, what was the point in imposing restrictions on the fundamental rights of movement and means of communication of seven million people since August 5 following the Centre's abrogation of their special rights and privileges under Article 370. The government claimed restrictions have been removed and all rights restored. 

Mr. Sibal asked the court whether the government had produced any written order of withdrawal of the restrictions. “There must be a withdrawal order of restrictions under Section 144 CrPC. For everything, there must be specific orders. They cannot just come and claim here that the restrictions have been lifted. We want the withdrawal orders, if there are any, to be produced in court,” he said.

Senior lawyer, Vrinda Grover, for Ms. Bhasin, had said the restrictions had paralysed life, movement and means of communication in the Valley.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the J&K government, had claimed that the authorities acted on heaps of material, including intelligence and military, about inflammatory material and speeches, circulation of fake news, morphed images and videos spread on social media. 

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 8:54:27 AM |

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