Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court order on Internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it will restore free flow of information from the region.
"It is a historic and great decision, court has said you can't curb freedom of expression. All trade activity gets stopped if the internet is shut. Such incidents can happen when no other option is left. Section 144 can be imposed only on basis of facts", said Sibal.
With regards to the internet clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review within a week all orders imposing curbs in the union territory stating that internet access is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution. Supreme Court has also said that Section 144 cannot be used as a tool to suppress dissent.
The top court has also observed that the ban on the internet should be an extreme measure to be considered by the state. Pulling up the Centre, the SC stated that the Central government's refusal not to produce all documents citing privilege cannot be a valid ground. The apex court also told the Centre to allow government websites and e-banking facilities in the region.
On November 21, the Centre had justified restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of provisions of Article 370. The Centre had said that due to the preventive steps taken, neither a single life was lost nor a single bullet fired. The Centre had referred to terrorist violence in the Kashmir Valley and said that for the past so many years terrorists were being pushed through from across the border, local militants and separatist organizations had held the civilians captive in the region and it would have been "foolish" if the government would not have taken preventive steps to secure the lives of citizens.