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Judiciary

Supreme Court Directs Jammu & Kashmir to Publish Internet Restriction Review Orders

By Jhanak Singh      24 February, 2024 03:10 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Directs Jammu and Kashmir to Publish Internet Restriction Review Orders

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to publish the review orders of the special committee under the Union Home Secretary on restoration of Internet services in the Union Territory.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for the J-K administration, contended that the review order is an internal mechanism, there is no impediment to publishing the same.

A three-judge bench led by Justice B R Gavai said, “Taking into consideration that even a review order would result in affecting rights of the parties. We express our prima facie opinion, though it may not be necessary to publish review deliberations, orders passed in the review need to be published”.

The bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Sandeep Mehta, disposed of the plea by the Foundation for Media Professionals after recording the statement of the Solicitor General and clarifying the final order passed by the review committee must be published and that the internal deliberations need not be.

During the hearing, a counsel for Foundation for Media Professionals, submitted that all states where restrictions were imposed on the Internet at one time or another have published the review orders. He stressed that it is beyond his comprehension why only Jammu and Kashmir is resisting it.

“All other states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, including border states, have published it. There is no tenable order,” he said.

The counsel submitted these orders have been mandated by law and the failure to do so was against the spirit of the order of the top court in Anuradha Bhasin case.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for the J-K administration, contended that the review order is an internal mechanism, there is no impediment to publishing the same.

On January 30, the Supreme Court had said that the review orders in connection with internet restriction in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are not supposed to be kept in the cupboard, rather they should be published.

The court had in May 2020 asked the Centre to set up a special committee to assess the necessity of restrictions on the Internet in J&K. The Union government began tightening restrictions on the Internet in J-K in 2019 following abrogation of Article 370. Journalist Anuradha Bhasin moved the Supreme Court in 2020 seeking review of the restrictions.

The Centre had earlier claimed all these issues had arisen during the curbs (after the abrogation of the Article 370) and all those prayers have been complied and even contempt had been dismissed. 



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