In a massive development regarding the ongoing restrictions in Kashmir, the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, on Monday while hearing petitions challenging the abrogation of article 370 has said that 'he will visit the Valley' if necessary. The Supreme Court has also sought a report from J&K High Court chief justice on allegations that people are finding it difficult to approach the High Court. The CJI added that he will talk to the HC Chief Justice directly if required. The SC has also directed the Centre to file an affidavit about the same. Centre has agreed to do so.
"It's very serious if people are unable to approach the HC. If requirement arises, I may myself visit Srinagar," said the CJI in the SC, according to PTI.
The CJI-led bench has also allowed senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit Srinagar, Baramulla, Jammu. A notice has also been issued on the same. The bench was hearing to Azad's plea stating his wish to visit the Valley. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Azad had stated that the former J&K CM had been stopped thrice from visiting the Valley. Azad assured the Court that he will not hold any speeches in the specific areas and just wants to meet the people. After being assured of the same, the CJI permitted Azad's visit.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, "he will not make any speeches or hold any public rally as per his own submissions", according to ANI.
Earlier on August 24, an Opposition delegation led by Rahul Gandhi attempted to visit Srinagar inspite of the local authorities requesting to not do so. The delegation was detained at Srinagar airport and had asked the Opposition leaders to return back. On returning to Delhi, Rahul Gandhi continued to fearmonger about the ground reality of Kashmir. Gandhi questioned why they were not allowed to enter if the situation was normal, as stated by the government. He expressed his wish to visit any area and speak with a few residents.
Meanwhile, on September 5, the Supreme Court had adjourned the hearing of petitions that challenge restrictions imposed in Jammu & Kashmir after the abrogation Article 370 to September 16, Monday. The apex court had declined to pass any orders against the petitions filed by Kasmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin and activist Tehseen Poonawalla. The Bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and Abdul Nazeer was considering the petitions filed by Poonawalla over restrictions on media communication by Bhasin and instances of Section 144 imposed in 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.