SC Asks Govt to Ensure Normalcy is Restored in J&K: Key Highlights

The bench clarified that the restoration should be on a selective basis keeping in mind the national interest.

3 min read
Image used for representational purpose.

A Supreme Court bench on Monday, 16 September, asked the Centre to ensure that normalcy is restored in Jammu and Kashmir, according to news agency PTI.

The bench, however, clarified that the restoration should be on a selective basis keeping in mind the national interest.

This was after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta raised concerns that the directive to ensure normalcy could be misused by elements outside the country.

Here are the highlights from the Supreme Court hearing:

J&K HC to Deal With Communication Shutdown

The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, including justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer, head a petition by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin who sought the removal of communication restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.

She told the court that she wasn’t able to publish her newspaper in Srinagar due to the restrictions imposed by the government following the abrogation of Article 370.

The Supreme Court then said that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court could deal with the alleged shutdown, as the matter is restricted to the Valley itself.

“We are saying that if it is some local issue then it would be better if the high court dealt with it. It is simpler for the high court to know what is happening in the state in terms of the shutdown of mobile and Internet services,” the bench said, as quoted by PTI.

Centre to File Affidavit on Normalcy in Kashmir

In response to Bhasin’s allegations, the bench was briefed by Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the central government, on the steps taken to restore normalcy in J&K.

He made the following submissions:

  • Media passes are given for access to restricted areas.
  • Journalists are given access to phones and the internet (from 8 am to 11 pm).
  • Doordarshan, other private TV channels, as well as FM networks are operational.

The court reportedly asked the Centre to “put in these things in an affidavit.”

‘State Under Three Pronged Attack’

The Attorney General told the the court that the administration in Jammu and Kashmir was under a “three pronged attack” by terrorists across the border, separatists and terrorists inside Kashmir, reported PTI.

He said that over 40,000 lives were lost in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990 and that separatists even received funding from the Pakistan High Commission.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that not a single bullet has been fired in Jammu and Kashmir since restrictions were imposed in the state.

In the Kashmir division, restrictions have been lifted in 93 of the 105 police stations, he said, adding that all restrictions had been lifted from the Jammu and Ladakh divisions.

There is no scarcity of medicines and a three month stock of essential commodities has been arranged, he said.

“The picture presented before the court is wrong,” he concluded.

Earlier in the day, the SC had granted permission to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit four districts in J&K to check-up on the well being of his family. However, it clarified that he will not hold any political rallies during his visit to state.

In a separate hearing, the court issued notice to the Centre on the detention of former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah in response to a plea by Rajya Sabha MP and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko.

He alleged that Abdullah is not being allowed to attend an MDMK seminar in Chennai.

(With input from PTI.)

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