The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions, including that of Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury challenging restrictions imposed in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.
A bench of Justices NV Ramana, Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai heard the petitions and reserved its judgment for Monday on the communication blockade in the Valley.
The top court will, however, take up final arguments in Asifa Mubeen’s petition on illegal detentions in Kashmir on Friday. Sitaram Yechury’s petition and others connected with Kashmir lockdown will be taken up by the court at a later date.
As senior counsels Kapil Sibal, Vrinda Grover, Raju Ramchandran, Huzefa Ahmedi and Dushyant Dave argued for the petitioners, the Attorney General pleaded the court and the parties to look at the broader picture, “instead of the nitty-gritties of the law”.
Kapil Sibal, appearing for Ghulam Nabi Azad, said we definitely understand that there are national security issues in Jammu and Kashmir, but the entire population cannot be virtually locked down.
Appearing on behalf of Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin, advocate Vrinda Grover called the restrictions and lockdown as unconstitutional and said the restrictions have to pass the test of proportionality.
She said that no committee has been formed to review the order blocking all telecommunication.
On November 21, the Centre justified restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and said that attempts are being made by the Pakistan military, militants and separatists on social media to instigate people for ‘Jihad’. “Hence, this should be seen as a preventive step, where we are not fighting our adversaries across the border but within the country also,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench.