New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre in connection to demand on the restoration of internet services and landline phones across hospitals and said that it will commence hearings on all matters related to abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on Tuesday.
The SC order was in response to a petition filed by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin who sought a complete removal of communication blockade in Kashmir and free movement of the Press and journalists in Kashmir.
On September 4, Bhasin had filed an additional affidavit stating that though the administration claims that restrictions are withdrawn, movement of journalists in Srinagar continues to be curbed.
Notably, Kashmir has been under a communication blackout since August 5, when the central government led by the BJP revoked Article 370 taking away the special status granted to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi set up a five-judge Constitution bench to be headed by Justice NV Ramana and referred all pleas alleging restrictions placed on Kashmir journalists and another plea claiming illegal detention of minors in the Valley to the bench.
The Constitution bench will also hear pleas of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, and deal with issues related to the movement restrictions, and Internet ban in the Valley.
Meanwhile, the Court has directed MDMK General Secretary Vaiko to file a fresh petition against the detention of former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is confined under the provisions of Public Safety Act.
Moreover, a PIL filed by child rights expert Enakshi Ganguly and Professor Shanta Sinha alleged that there were a number of cases of illegal detention of children in the former state since the scrapping of J&K’s special status.
The postponing comes as a result of the ongoing daily hearings on the Ayodhya land dispute case. CJI Gogoi stated that the Court does not have time to hear on Kashmir matters as it needs to wrap up with the Ayodhya dispute by the first week of October.
Following the abrogation, the state was bifurcated into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh – that will come into existence on October 31.
Subsequently, many Kashmiri politicians and activists were detained in order to ‘avoid violence’. Tensions have been growing ever since, with Pakistan forcing to take the Kashmir issue on international levels. Meanwhile, the top court has asked the Centre to ensure that normal life is restored in Jammu and Kashmir while keeping in mind the national safety and security.