Kashmiri Student' Plea Against J&K Lockdown: Karnataka HC Tells Centre To Provide Details Of All Petitions Pending In SC

Kashmiri Student

The Karnataka High Court on September 9, granted time till September 13, to the Union Government to give details of petitions pending for hearing before the Supreme Court in regards to the alleged communication blackout in Jammu and Kashmir, post the abrogation of Article 370.

Justice Alok Aradhe which is hearing a petition filed by a 23-year-old Syed Peerzada Suheel Ahmad, resident of Pulwama and now studying in Bengaluru said "Assistant Solicitor General prays for and is granted three days time to enable him to find out the particulars of the petitions which are pending with regards to the communication blackout as alleged by the petitioner in the Kashmir valley which are pending before the Supreme Court, so that this court may decide whether it can proceed with the hearing of this petition."

Advocate Vishwajit Sadananda appearing for the petitioner argued that no other petition except the one filed by Anuradha Bhasin on the issue of communication black out is pending before the Supreme Court. Bhasin's petition is on journalist and media freedom and so one could argue that the scope of the petition is different, especially since the union's main contention is that other papers are operating and hence restricting the scope of the arguments in the SC to journalists being clamped down and not the larger population.

To which the Assistant Solicitor General argued that 12 petitions are pending before the Supreme Court and therefore since the petitions are subjudice before the Supreme Court, this court cannot entertain this petition.

As per the petitioner he hails from Pulwama and since August 5 an unprecedented and total communication blackout is prevailing in all districts of Kashmir. This opaque, unreasonable decision by the Union government has resulted in the petitioner being separated from his family and loved ones in an illegal and arbitrary manner. The legal basis for this communication blackout is not available in public domain.

The plea says that communication blockade in Kashmir has deprived the petitoner of his rights to acquire information about the well being of his family. The right to receive information is an integral part of Article 19 (1) (a). The communication blockade in Kashmir does not qualify as a reasonable restrictions under Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India.

The plea prays for by way of interim relief directions to authorities to produce all relevant orders, notices, or circulars issued by authorities under which suspension or shut down of communication in Kashmir was ordered.