Declining to pass any orders, the Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned till September 16 the hearing of petitions challenging the curfew measures imposed in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of the state's special status.
The bench consisting of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S A Bobde and Abdul Nazeer was considering the petitions filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times against the media curbs and Tehseen Poonawalla against the curfew measures and detention of political leaders in the region.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the Kashmir Times Editor, submitted that due to severe media restrictions, the daily's publication from Srinagar has stopped since August 5.
Grover pressed for an interim order to direct the Centre to produce the notification under which the restrictions on media have been imposed.
When she mentioned the incident of a doctor in Kashmir being intimidated for speaking to media about the medical emergency in the area due to the curfew, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta interjected to say "this is sensationalizing the issue".
The Solicitor General added that several papers were being published from the region and Kashmir Times has voluntarily chosen to stop publication.
Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing in a connected matter, submitted that daily lives of Kashmiris have been thrown out of gear with the massive troop mobilization. Meanwhile, a lawyer, claiming to be from Kashmir, stood up to submit that even patients are not getting medical treatment.
The Attorney General K K Venugopal was quick to deny this submission by saying that nearly 7 lakh patients have attended out patient treatment in hospitals since August 5. The hospitals are working well, and have performed thousands of surgeries during this period, the AG added.
When Teseen Ponnallawa's petition was taken up, the Court questioned the locus of the petitioner, who is not a resident of Kashmir.
"Who are you? What is your connection with Jammu and Kashmir?", the CJI asked Poonawalla's lawyer.
Finally, the Court adjourned the hearing till September 16, despite protests from petitioners that this would allow the Government to continue the clampdown for another ten days.
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