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SC Refers Petitions Against Jammu & Kashmir Lockdown To Constitution Bench

30 Sep 2019 5:54 AM GMT
SC Refers Petitions Against Jammu & Kashmir Lockdown To Constitution Bench
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The three judges bench comprising CJI Gogoi, Justices Bobde and Abdul Nazeer on Monday referred the petitions challenging the lockdown measures and communication shut down in Jammu and Kashmir to the Constitution Bench, which has been formed to hear the pleas challenging repeal of J&K special status and the bifurcation of the state.

The referred matters include the petition filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times daily, challenging curbs on media and Dr. Sameer Kaul against the shut down of internet and mobile connections.

The bench has also referred to Constitution Bench the Public Interest Litigation filed by Enakshi Ganguly, an eminent child rights expert and Professor Shanta Sinha, the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR) against the alleged illegal detention of children in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of State. CJI Gogoi said that the report of the J&K Juvenile Justice Committee regarding the allegations has been received. The Court had called for a report from the Committee two weeks ago.

The habeas petition filed by CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also stands referred to the Constitution Bench.

The Constitution Bench comprising Justices Raman, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant will start hearing the petitions challenging Presidential Orders under Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Bifurcation Act from tomorrow.

On September 16, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to make every effort to ensure that normalcy is restored in Jammu and Kashmir, by keeping in mind the interests of national security.

"The State of Jammu & Kashmir, keeping in mind the national interest and internal security, shall make all endeavours to ensure that normal life is restored in Kashmir; people have access to healthcare facilities and schools, colleges and other educational institutions and public transport functions and operates normally. All forms of communication, subject to overriding consideration of national security, shall be normalized, if required on a selective basis, particularly for healthcare facilities", the bench comprising CJI Gogoi, Justices Bobde and Abdul Nazeer had ordered.

In her petition, Bhasin had challenged the shutdown of communication services and curbs on media freedom that were imposed in Kashmir in the wake of abrogation of the state's special status.

Foundation for Media Professionals, headed by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Indian Journalists Union have intervened in the case supporting Bhasin's plea.

When the petition was listed on August 16, the Court had said that it will prefer to give some time to the Central Government to restore normalcy in J&K.

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