Article 370: Supreme Court tells petitioners to give government more time to lift restrictions in Kashmir

[dropcap]E[/dropcap]VEN though Kashmir remained shut for the 12thconsecutive day on Friday, the Supreme Court while hearing a bunch of petitions against restrictions imposed in the Valley, said that the security agencies must be trusted and the government be given more time till the normalcy returns.

Hearing a petition against restrictions on media persons and communication blockade, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said that the government should be trusted when it says that restrictions are being listed in a phased manner.

The petition filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Kashmir Times editor, has sought directions to ensure that the State creates an enabling environment for journalists and all other media personnel in all parts of Jammu and Kashmir to practice their profession.

The court maintained it would like to give some more time to the government to review the situation.  However, both the Attorney General for India (AG) K K Venugopal and Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta opposed the said petition and submitted that the matter should be left on the wisdom of security agencies.

Appearing for Kashmir Times editor, advocate Vrinda Grover told the court that there was complete media blackout in the state.  At this, Justice Bobde stated that landline phones were working and he had made a telephonic call to the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Grover, however, asserted that not all landline phones were working in Kashmir.


Also read: Kashmir Times editor moves Supreme Court seeking  media freedom in Valley


The court adjourned the plea without passing any effective order in the matter. Next date of hearing will be fixed by the registry.

While hearing a separated petition, the Supreme Court chastised advocate ML Sharma for filing a half-baked Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging scrapping of provision of Article 370 of the Constitution.

At the outset of the hearing, the CJI Gogoi sitting along with Justices SA Bobde and Abdul Nazeer pulled up ML Sharma for his extremely poor drafting of the petition.  Following the exchange of words ensued between the bench and Sharma:

CJI: What kind of petition is this? What are your pleadings and prayer? We don’t want to dismiss it because it might affect other petitions. In a matter of this nature, how can you file such a petition? I tried to read your petition for half an hour but could not understand it.

ML Sharma: This is due to my injury. I’ll file additional affidavit. Give me permission to amend the petition.

At this point, another advocate Shakir Shabir informed the court that he had filed a petition challenging the Presidential Order abrogating Article 370. The court informed that of the six petitions pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir issue, four petitions are lying defective.

The Court ordered all the petitions will be listed for hearing once defects in all the petitions pending with the registry are cured.  The Court, however, has not fixed any next date of the next hearing.

Meanwhile, the administration in Jammu and Kashmir has claimed that the “restrictions on the movement of people have been eased in most parts of the Valley. The situation so far has remained peaceful.”

Quoting an official, PTI reported that the deployment of security forces on the ground remains as earlier but people were allowed to move around the city and other towns.

Kashmir was placed an under a total clampdown on August 5, hours before Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced in the Rajya Sabha that the special status for the state had been revoked and it was divided into two Union Territories.

Also read: Supreme Court defers PIL seeking withdrawal of curfew and other restrictions in the Valley