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A batch of petitions touching upon various issues birthing from the abrogation of Article 370 and concerning the State of Jammu & Kashmir were taken up by the Supreme Court for hearing today.
While the challenge to the abrogation of the Article itself was heard by a Constitution Bench which adjourned the matter after granting more time to the Central government to file its response, a three-judge Bench heard various petitions concerning the issues emerging from the same. The issues raised in these petitions ranged from illegal detention of persons to lifting of communication blackout.
The matter was heard by a three-Judge Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana and comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai. The following is what happened in the petitions today.
Enakshi Ganguly and Anr vs Union of India – Illegal detention of Children in Kashmir
In this petition filed by two Child Rights activists, the Supreme Court had sought a report from the Juvenile Justice Committee of Jammu & Kashmir High Court regarding alleged detention and treatment of children in Kashmir. Senior Counsel Huzefa Ahmadi representing the petitioners told the Court that more time was required to peruse the report and respond thereafter. The Court thus adjourned the matter today. The matter will be taken up next on October 16.
Sitaram Yechury vs Union of India – Habeas Corpus filed by CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury for production of MY Tarigami
Centre, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Court today that this petition is rendered infructuous given that Tarigami has been produced. Senior Counsel Raju Ramachandran, however, told the Court that on the previous date of hearing, a Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi which was hearing the case earlier had allowed the challenge to the validity of the detention order to be kept alive. In light of the same, Ramachandran argued that the matter cannot be disposed of.
The Court suggested that given that the High Court in Jammu and Kashmir is functioning normally, the challenge to the validity of the detention order can be raised before the High Court. If the relief is pursued before the Supreme Court, the matter will not be heard on an urgent basis but will be taken up in due course, the petitioner was told. Ramchandran, hwoever, persisted that he will pursue the matter before the Supreme Court itself. The matter was, therefore, adjourned and will come up in due course.
Dr. Sameer Kaul vs Union of India – Petition seeking lifting of restrictions in Hospital and medical services facilities
This petition filed by Dr. Sameer Kaul seeking a relaxation of restrictions imposed on internet and telephone services in hospitals was not entertained by the Supreme Court. The Court observed that the Supreme Court cannot entertain every petition that comes before it especially when the option to move the High Court has not been exercised. Asserting that the High Court in Jammu and Kashmir is functioning normally, the Court directed the Petitioner to move the High Court.
Ghulam Nabi Azad vs Union of India – Plea seeking production of government orders imposing restrictions
Petition filed by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. Azad had sought permission to visit Kashmir and had also sought production of government orders under which communication restrictions and curfew were imposed.
Appearing for Azad, Senior Counsel Huzafa Ahmadi told the Court that notice in this plea was issued two weeks ago but the Centre had still not filed its response yet. The Court granted two more weeks to the Central government to file its response and told SG Tushar Mehta that no further extension will be granted. The matter will be taken up next on October 16.
Anuradha Bhasin vs Union of India – Media and Communications Blackout
This petition, along with a number of applications raises the issue of the media blackout in Kashmir and the sustained restrictions on mobile and internet services in the Kashmir region. The Court today quizzed all the applicants on their prayers and relief sought while directing the Centre to file its response in each of those matters within a week. The matter will be taken up next on October 16.
Advocate Vrinda Grover represented Bhasin while Senior Counsel Meenakshi Arora and Dushyant Dave appeared for some of the applicants. In the tagged matter, Senior Counsel Sanjay Hegde represented the Kashmiri Law student Mohammad Aleem Sayed whose affidavit detailing the on-ground situation in Kashmir was taken on record by the Supreme Court.
Sitaram Yechury vs UOI
Ghulam Nabi Azad vs UOI
Anuradha Bhasin vs UOI