Supreme Court: The Court has asked the Central and Jammu and Kashmir Government to file an affidavit on the petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions under Article 370. A three-judge bench headed by Ranjan Gogoi has also asked the Centre and State to
restore the normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir by keeping in mind the “national safety” and “security“.
The mobile facilities, including Internet, were suspended in the Kashmir region after the abrogation of Article 370, last month.
The Court was hearing a batch of petitions, including one filed by the Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin, challenging the communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir. While Vrinda Grover appeared on behalf of Bhasin, Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal represented the Central government in the Court. During the course of proceedings, Grover contended that the communication blockade is a “hindrance to the media activities” and sought a direction to restore all kinds of communication activities for a smoother work for media.
Opposing the submission made by the counsel, AG told the court that the landline and many other communication facilities have been provided to media professionals for their work.
“Newspapers are getting published and TVs are also broadcasting,”
On the matter of the health services, he said that more than 5.5 lakh people have, by far, received the medical treatment and refuted the claim put forth by Bhasin that people are not getting medical facilities in Jammu and Kashmir. AG added,
“Major surgeries, including major ones like cesarean and other operations, are being conducted normally in Jammu and Kashmir,”
He also said that not a single person has died since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status.
The Court also sought a response from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration on the habeas corpus petition moved by MDMK chief, Vaiko, seeking the release of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who has been under the preventive detention in Srinagar after the central government revoked the special Constitutional status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir.
The Court also allowed senior Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, to visit Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Jammu. CJI, however, directed,
“He will not make any speeches or hold any public rally as per his own submissions.”
CJI further stated, “If requirement arises, I may visit Jammu and Kashmir.”
The court will now take up the matter on September 30.
Last month, Parliament had passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019, bifurcating the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir with legislature and Ladakh without it. Following this, a batch of petitions were filed in the top court challenging it.