The Supreme Court will deliver judgment on the petitions challenging the communication blockade, internet shutdown and other prohibitory measures imposed in Kashmir region tomorrow at 10.30 AM.
On November 27, a three judges bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai had reserved judgment on a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of Kashmir lockdown, which was imposed in the wake of abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year.
The Court had heard the petitions filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Ghulam Nabi Azad and few intervenors.
The petitioners mainly argued that the restrictions on the liberties of citizens under Article 19 failed to satisfy the tests of reasonableness and proportionality as laid down by the Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy case on right to privacy.
Also, restrictions of such a wide scale for a period spanning over three months can be invoked only by declaring an emergency under Article 352 of the Constitution. Such restrictions cannot be imposed through orders of District Magistrates under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. A declaration of emergency under Article 352 will be subjected to periodic review of the Parliament, and that way possibilities of abuse could be checked, argued the petitioners.
The restrictions have virtually paralyzed the lives of 7 million people; their daily lives have been impacted. Education, medical care, business, agriculture, tourism etc, have taken a bad hit due to the lockdown of the state, submitted the petitioners.
Advocate Vrinda Grover (for Bhasin), Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal (for Azad), Senior Advocates Huzefa Ahmadi and Dushyant Dave (for intervenors) submitted arguments for petitioners.
The Central Government and J&K Administration, represented by the Attorney General and Solicitor General respectively, submitted that the restrictions were necessary in the interests of national security. It was submitted that internet ban is necessary to cut-off the co-ordination amongst militants. The restrictions have ensured that the "historic decision" of the Government to revoke the special status of the state was implemented without any bloodshed, the state argued.