Communication Shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir: Live Updates from Supreme Court

Communication Shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir: Live Updates from Supreme Court

Bar & Bench

The Supreme Court is presently in the midst of hearing a batch of petitions concerning the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

The matters relate to restrictions imposed on the press and communications in Kashmir.

The pleas are being dealt with by a Bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy, and BR Gavai.

Read an account of hearings held last Tuesday here, and an account of yesterday’s hearing here.

Live Updates from today’s hearing follow

  • Hearing in plea by Anuradha Bhasin on communication shutdown in Kashmir continuing before court 3 of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court. Kapil Sibal making arguments.
  • Restriction cannot amount to abrogation of the right (under Article 19), Kapil Sibal.
  • Sibal making submissions on conditions for imposition of restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, citing precedents.
  • There should a definite and substantiated threat and not a mere perception of threat, Sibal.
  • The test for invoking Section 144 is not of mere likelihood or tendency, Sibal.
  • I am stopped at the airport. That restriction is a prohibition. That prohibition should have a nexus with imposition of 144. That is, me going outside will endanger my life. And they should have sufficient material to prove that, Sibal.
  • Under what provision of law can they shutdown everything, no 2G, 3G, 4G, no transport. They cannot do that under S. 144, not even under Article 19(2), Sibal.
  • State cannot say that every person in a district is likely to affect public order and tranquility. Even if you wish to produce such material, you cannot, Sibal.
  • There can be an apprehension as regards 7 million people, Sibal; In an issue like this, why cant there be, asks Justice R Subhash Reddy.
  • Justice BR Gavai speaks about shutdown in entire cities in Maharashtra due to communal disturbances. Curfews are imposed in such cases, Justice Gavai; But how can you assume that the entire population will create problems, Sibal.
  • There must be material. You cannot assume that the entire population is creating problems. The problem is their creation, Sibal; So you admit there is a problem, Justice R Subhash Reddy; It is a creation if their act, Sibal.
  • They can impose restrictions in particular areas and that can be done under Article 352. That would need to be passed by Parliament but that is a different issue, Sibal.
  • So should they wait for riots, Justice BR Gavai; Now that is an assumption that riots will take place. It is in the mind. There are intelligence inputs based on which restrictions can be placed. We should not allow arms of the law to become irrelevant like this, Sibal
  • You can declare high alert; deploy police force. There are many things that can be done, Sibal.
  • “Assuming there is a possibility of disturbance, it is the duty of State to ensure that those in need of service and care are protected”, Sibal; “In every case of curfew, in such circumstances, some people may suffer”, Justice R Subhash Reddy.
  • Assuming there is material, still my right has to be protected. State has to protect my right. State has to protect people from any kind of disturbance and also protect exercise of fundamental rights, Sibal
  • This issue has never come up before this court because such an exercise of power has never taken place in the history of our country, Sibal.
  • Stopping me at the airport, not allowing me to carry on my trade, not allowing me to go to hospital are all unreasonable restrictions, Sibal.
  • Will my entering Jammu & Kashmir create a riot? No. Eventually I did go there after this Court gave an order to that effect, Sibal.
  • A law has to pass the test of public order. Else it will fall outside the scope of A. 19(2). It is the duty of State to maintain public order. It is also the duty of the State to use 19(2) to protect freedoms under Article 19. That is my argument, Kapil Sibal.
  • Bench rises for the day.
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