The Supreme Court will hear the pleas challenging the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir limited to restrictions on media communication which was filed by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin. The apex court had declined to pass any orders against the petitions filed by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin and activist Tehseen Poonawalla until September 16. The Bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and Abdul Nazeer was considering the petitions filed over restrictions on media communication by Bhasin and instances of Section 144 imposed in Kashmir, by Poonawalla.
Representing Kashmir Times, advocate Vrinda Grover stated that the daily's publication from Srinagar has been on a standstill for a month now owing to the communication blockade imposed by the government. The senior advocate had earlier pressed for an interim order demanding that the Centre produce the notification under which the media restrictions were imposed. However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the Centre stated that Kashmir Times has voluntarily chosen to stop the publication and that there were several papers being published from the region. He also interrupted Vrinda Grover by saying, "this is sensationalizing the issue," when Grover mentioned the incident of a doctor in Kashmir being intimidated for speaking to media about the medical emergency due to the restrictions imposed. Attorney General KK Venugopal has assured the court that step by step relaxation was ongoing in Jammu & Kashmir.
The Bench in its previous hearing on 28th August had issued a notice in petitions filed by both Bhasin and Poonawalla. The petition filed by Anuradha Bhasin contends that the shutdown of internet and telecommunications at a time when significant political and constitutional changes are being forged by the Parliament to the status of Jammu and Kashmir and asserted on violation of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19. Bhasin termed government restrictions as 'Abuse of State Power.' Earlier, The Press Council of India had also filed an application in the Apex Court.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that it will not be possible to clamp down on terrorists without having any impact on the rest of Kashmir. Jaishankar, in an interview to a global news publication, said that communication restrictions were necessary since it would help to stop contact between terrorists, and that cannot be achieved without having any impact on the rest of the region. Article 370 in relation to J&K was abrogated in August thereby unifying the state with the rest of the country like never before and bringing it fully under the Constitution of India. Taking on Pakistan without naming it, Jaishankar asked, “How do I cut off communications between the terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know.”