The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would hear petitions against the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir on September 16, PTI reported. The petitions were filed by Anuradha Bhasin, the executive editor of Kashmir Times, who had challenged the restrictions on media, and political commentator Tehseen Poonawalla, who had challenged the security clampdown in the state.
Bhasin had on Wednesday filed an additional affidavit in the top court, saying the “information black hole” was still continuing in the Valley. On Thursday, she told a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that even a month after the state lost its special status, journalists were not allowed to move freely.
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said a large number of newspapers were being published from Srinagar and the editors of Kashmir Times had chosen not to publish their newspaper. “Their [Bhasin’s] case is factually incorrect. Newspapers are being published from Srinagar and in Jammu,” India Today quoted Mehta as saying.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Bhasin, asked the court to issue directions to the Centre to show the notification based on which the media restrictions were imposed. On Poonawalla’s petition, the court asked him what his locus standi was in the matter as he was not a resident of Kashmir.
In her affidavit, Bhasin said that though the administration claimed that restrictions were being withdrawn, movement of journalists in Srinagar was still curbed. “This has led news printing agencies to reduce their publication from the usual 12-16 pages to 2-4 pages,” said Bhasin.
On August 28, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to Bhasin’s petition within seven days. Earlier, on August 16, the Supreme Court had said it would like to give the government a little more time to review the situation.
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