How Long Restrictions Will Continue, Supreme Court Asks J&K Administration
The Supreme Court asked the Jammu & Kashmir administration as to how long they intend to continue the restrictions, including internet blockade, imposed in the Valley following the abrogation of provision of Article 370.
The apex court, which was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the restrictions on movement and communication blockade imposed in the Valley, said the authorities may impose restrictions for national interest but they have to be reviewed from time to time.
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana told Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who were appearing for the Centre and the J&K administration respectively, to come out with "clear" reply and find out other methods to deal with the issue.
Mehta told the bench, also comprising justices R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, that "the restrictions are being reviewed daily. In around 99 percent area, no restrictions are there".
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for petitioner and Executive Editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin, countered Mehta's submissions and said that internet shutdown still continues in the Valley even after more than two months.
"You have to come out with clear reply. You have to find out other methods to deal with it," the bench told Mehta, adding, "How long you want these restrictions?".
"You may impose restrictions for national interest but it has to be reviewed from time to time," the bench said.
On internet blockade, Mehta said it would have trans-border implications as it may be linked to spurt in terror violence in the valley.
"Let us not have an ostrich approach," he said and referred to the 2016 protests in the valley after dreaded terrorist Burhan Wani was gunned down by security forces in an encounter.
With naming Wani, Mehta said when a terrorist was killed in Kashmir and internet was blocked for around three months, no petition was filed in the court against the restrictions.
Grover, however, referred to the affidavit filed by the J&K administration in the case and said they themselves have said that terrorist violence in the valley has gone down since 2008.
The apex court said it would hear arguments on these pleas on Nov. 5.
Besides the pleas filed by Bhasin and others challenging the restrictions imposed in the valley, the bench said it would hear other petitions which have raised issues, including alleged detention of minors in Kashmir, on Nov. 5.
The top court had on Oct. 16 asked the J&K administration to place before it the administrative orders imposing communication and other restrictions in the state following the abrogation of provisions of Article 370.
Bhasin had earlier told the bench that the Centre and J&K administration had suppressed from the top court the orders and notifications on the basis of which physical and communication restrictions were imposed in the valley.
However, the J&K administration had said those orders and notifications would be placed before the top court but those cannot be shared with the petitioners.