The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to produce orders related to the shutdown and detentions in Jammu and Kashmir, reported Bar and Bench. The three-judge bench of Justices NV Ramana with R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai was hearing a petition filed by Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin challenging the restrictions placed on media and communications in the Valley.
If the Centre wished to not divulge reasons for not placing any order on record, an affidavit detailing the reasons is to be filed, said the bench. The court will hear the matter next on October 25.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Jammu and Kashmir administration, agreed to place the order on record but with a rider. “We will place on record these orders but nobody can seek an appeal on executive orders concerning national security, especially not the petitioners,” said Mehta.
The government had imposed restrictions on public movement and communications in Jammu and Kashmir on August 4, a day before it revoked the state’s special constitutional status. The administration said the restrictions were important to prevent law and order problems and curb terrorist activity. Restrictions had been lifted from Jammu and Ladakh regions within a few weeks, but daily activity remains affected in parts of Kashmir.
During the hearing on Wednesday, Mehta told the court that a rejoinder was filed by the Centre when the matter was taken up last time. However, Bhasin’s lawyer Vrinda Grover pointed out the government’s rejoinder had not touched upon the orders imposing restrictions. This point was raised in the counter affidavit file by Bhasin, said Grover.
“Is it done purposefully?” the bench asked Mehta. To this, Mehta argued that the petition originally sought only the lifting of the curbs in the region. “The situation on ground is changing gradually,” he said. “The petitioner has now expanded the scope of the prayer to seek production of the orders also.”
However, Grover said production of these orders was in the original petition so that the validity of the decisions can be examined. The court agreed with Grover.