The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday has adjourned the hearing of petitions that challenge restrictions imposed in Jammu & Kashmir after the abrogation Article 370 to September 16, Monday. The Apex Court has 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 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.