J&K Curfew : SC Says Time Should Be Given For Normalcy To Return; Hearing Adjourned For Two Weeks
The Supreme Court on Monday observed that the Centre should be given some more time for restoring normalcy in the Kashmir valley by lifting the curfew measures.
The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and Ajay Rastogi was considering the petition filed by Tehseen Poonawalla against the curfew measures imposed in Jammu and Kashmir following the Central Government steps to abrogate the special status enjoyed by it under Article 370 of the Constitution.
The Court however agreed to the request made by Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy, the counsel for the petitioner, to keep the petition pending and to consider it after two weeks.
Guruswamy submitted that there cannot be complete blackout of all means of communication and information. At least schools, hospitals and police stations should be permitted to function, she said.
Observing that the law and order measures might have been imposed based on the seriousness of the situation, Justice Arun Mishra asked the Attorney General K K Venugopal how long the curfew will be in force.
In reply, the AG submitted that the Central Government was keenly reviewing the situation and assured the bench that least amount of inconvenience will be caused to the residents before normalcy is restored.
AG also informed that not even a single life has been lost due to the security measures. In 2016, it took more than three months to bring normalcy in J&K and more than 47 persons were killed then, the AG said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the bench that district magistrates are reviewing the situation in each district and restrictions will be lifted one by one depending on the ground inputs.
The petition alleged that in the backdrop of latest constitutional amendments introduced by Union of India with respect to J&K, the state has been imposed with undeclared curfew, shutdown of phone services and internet and blockage of news channels w.e.f 4.08.2019. It further alleges that the citizens of J&K have been barred access to basic necessities such as healthcare, educational institutions, banks, public offices, food-vegetables and ration supply establishments. All of this amounts to suspension of Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India and is illegal, it said
It also sought the release of political leaders of J&K who have been detained. As per reports, leaders such as Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti,Mohammed Tarigami etc., are under custody.
Earlier on Monday, a mention for urgent listing of the petition filed by Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin was made before the same bench. The bench then asked the counsel to give details of the petition to the registry.