Detention of Minors, Communication Shutdown in Kashmir: Live Updates from Supreme court

Detention of Minors, Communication Shutdown in 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 being heard include allegations that children are being detained by security forces and those relating 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.

Live Updates from today’s hearing follow

Enakshi Ganguly’s plea against alleged detention of children by security forces

  • Supreme Court begins hearing petition on alleged detention of children by Security forces.
  • Senior Counsel Huzefa Ahmadi making submissions on behalf of the petitioner.
  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta seeks indulgence of the Bench to make his submissions next week since he has a matter in another court.
  • Important matters cannot be delayed like this, Justice BR Gavai.
  • Court says it cannot keep the matter next week, asks Mehta to instruct junior counsel to take notes today and respond tomorrow. Huzefa Ahmadi resumes his arguments.
  • Ahmadi citing various media reports on the situation in Kashmir with specific reference to alleged acts against children.
  • Huzefa Ahmadi citing the report of Juvenile Justice Committee of Jammu & Kashmir High Court submitted pursuant to Supreme Court order
  • The Juvenile Justice Committee did not undertake the exercise as ordered by Supreme Court which was to submit a response on each of submissions made by the petitioner in Supreme Court, says Ahmadi.
  • Ahmadi uses the word “abdicated” in the context of Juvenile Justice Committee’s reporr. Bench takes objection, says the Committee had time constraints and other limitations. Bench asks Ahmadi to withdraw the word.
  • Huzefa Ahmadi withdraws the use of the word “abdicated”. However, he says that Committee has relied largely on report of Director General of Police Srinagar and has not done an independent exercise, perhaps due to lack of time.
  • What we feel is the report of Juvenile Justice Committee does not indicate application of mind with respect to facts stated in the affidavit, Justice NV Ramana tells Attorney General KK Venugopal.
  • Bench remarks that let the Juvenile Justice Committee undertake the exercise and the matter will be considered after that.
  • Ahmadi says he has some further submissions. Bench says either Ahmadi can argue relying on current report of the Committee or he can wait and the matter can be argued after a fresh report from the Committee.
  • Ahmadi says his objections should be placed before the Juvenile Justice Committee. Bench says that will be considered later.
  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has now returned for hearing.
  • Tushar Mehta says he has a submission. The Juvenile Justice Committee is a statutory committee comprising judges. Will the petitioner be allowed to sit in appeal over the report, asks Mehta.
  • Tushar Mehta also referring to the report of Chief Justice of Jammu & Kashmir High Court that the High Court is functioning normally. The petitioner had earlier made a false assertion to the Supreme Court that High court was not functioning.
  • This petition should not be kept pending as there is a remedy before High Court and a functional Juvenile Justice Committee, submits Tushar Mehta; You want this petition disposed of, Justice NV Ramana; Yes, says SG Tushar Mehta.
  • Justice BR Gavai asks petitioner whether it would now be more appropriate to have the matter heard by High court since it is functioning normally now.
  • This is an Article 32 petition which is itself a fundamental right. This Court has heard petitions of other persons on similar issues from Kashmir. So why not this petition which affects fundamental rights of children, Huzefa Ahmadi.
  • Moreover, the Court did hear this petition even after receipt of report from the High court Chief Justice, Huzefa Ahmadi.
  • Bench takes note of the fact that another Bench had taken note of the report of Chief Justice of High Court and yet passed orders in the matter subsequently calling for report from Juvenile Justice Committee
  • Bench tells Tushar Mehta it will examine the issue since another 3 judge Bench had taken note of the report of Chief Justice and yet passed orders. Judicial propriety might require that we hear it now, Justice BR Gavai.
  • Tushar Mehta says Bench can call for report from Juvenile Justice Committee to satisfy Your Lordships conscience, should not allow anybody to sit in appeal over this report.
  • Huzefa Ahmadi says this is a new line of argument emerging that in matters involving human rights, details are given only to Bench in sealed covers without giving it to the parties, Ahmadi.
  • As per the report of Committee, many detentions of children are preventive detention. Preventive detention of children are prohobited under Public Safety Act, submits Ahmadi.
  • Court dictating order in Enakshi Ganguly’s petition in detention of children. Juvenile Justice Committee directed to submit a fresh report after going into the issue independently.
  • Matter will now be listed on December 3.

Anuradha Bhasin’s plea against communications restrictions imposed in Kashmir

  • Now hearing in the petition by Anuradha Bhasin on restrictions on media in Kashmir commences. Advocate Vrinda Grover making submissions.
  • Vrinda Grover says no data services available to date. 90 days are over since shutdown began and no internet, mobile data, prepaid mobile or SMS services are available even today, Vrinda Grover.
  • Public transport is also very scarce in Kashmir valley, submits Grover.
  • Vrinda Grover explaining the difficulties in printing the paper due to communication shutdown.
  • Is there a proximate nexus between terrorist violence and internet, asks Vrinda Grover.
  • Vrinda Grover now assailing the order pursuant to which communication shutdown has been imposed in Kashmir. Since it takes away a valuable of fundamental right, there are very strict stipulations under the Telegraph Act and Rules, Grover.
  • Vrinda Grover refers to Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act. State has power to prohibit. But since I am a falling under the category of “press messages”, there should be a specific order of prohibition as per proviso to Section 5(2), Vrinda Grover.
  • Vrinda Grover says apprehension was of data services. Then why were landlines shutdown? Landlines do not require data services, Grover.
  • They could have shut down data and continued to allow landlines. What this shows is complete non-application of mind, Grover.
  • Bench rises for the day, hearing to continue tomorrow.
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