The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought responses from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration on a petition seeking the withdrawal of restrictions imposed on journalists in the state, PTI reported. The restrictions were imposed on August 5, when the Union government scrapped special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi passed the order on a plea by Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin. The court told the Centre and state governments to respond to Bhasin’s plea within seven days.

In her plea, Bhasin sought the removal of curbs on all modes of communication, including mobile internet and landline services, throughout the state, asserting that only this could provide the media with an enabling environment to function properly.

The Press Council of India had last week opposed Bhasin’s plea to remove restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, and asked to intervene in the matter. The council, in its intervention petition, supported the ban on media and said it was “in the interest of the integrity and sovereignty of the nation”.

However, after widespread criticism from journalists, the council changed its stand in the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the council proposed to its members that its plea should not approve of any sort of media restrictions.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday also referred a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status to a five-member Constitution Bench. A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer said the Constitution Bench will hear the matter in early October.

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