The Supreme Court will announce its verdict on Friday on two pleas challenging the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 after the Centre revoked the region’s special status. The top court had reserved its ruling on the matter on November 27.

The bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, had heard the petitions filed by Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. The petitioners argued that the restrictions were unreasonable, and that the long duration of curbs could only be invoked by declaring an emergency under Article 352 of the Constitution. However, the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration justified the restrictions by saying that they were necessary in the interests of national security.

On November 21 last year, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had told the Supreme Court that everything was “normal” in the Union Territory, and that the petitioners were presenting a “grim picture”.

Last year on August 5, the central government made amendments to Article 370 of Constitution and imposed prohibitory orders in the region. It also divided the state into the two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. While postpaid mobile and SMS services have resumed in Kashmir, internet remains blocked. The Ladakh administration on December 27 restored 4G mobile internet connectivity in Kargil, after a gap of 145 days.

The Narendra Modi-led government has faced increasing international pressure to restore normalcy in Kashmir. On October 25, 2019, the United States had asked India to provide a road map for the restoration of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, including the immediate release of all political detainees.