SC fixes pleas of Kashmir Times editor, others for hearing on September 16
SC fixes pleas of Kashmir Times editor, others for hearing on September 16

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central and Jammu and Kashmir government to file an affidavit on the petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions under Article 370.

A three-judge bench headed by Ranjan Gogoi asked the Centre and State to restore the normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir by keeping in mind the "national safety" and "security".

The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions, including one filed by the Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin, challenging the communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir.

While Vrinda Grover appeared on behalf of Bhasin, Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal represented the Central government in the court today. The mobile facilities, including Internet, were suspended in the Kashmir region after the abrogation of Article 370, last month.

During the course of proceedings, Grover contended that the communication blockade is a "hindrance to the media activities" and sought a direction to restore all kinds of communication activities for a smoother work for media.

Opposing the submission made by the counsel, K K Venugopal told the court that the landline and many other communication facilities have been provided to media professionals for their work. "Newspapers are getting published and TVs are also broadcasting," he said.

On the matter of the health services, he said that more than 5.5 lakh people have, by far, received the medical treatment and refuted the claim put forth by Bhasin that people are not getting medical facilities in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Major surgeries, including major ones like cesarean and other operations, are being conducted normally in Jammu and Kashmir," the counsel added.

He also said that not a single person has died since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special constitutional status.

Venugopal told the court that the people in Jammu and Kashmir faced three-pronged attacks -- stone pelters funded by separatists, terrorists pushed by the foreign country, and a businessman Watali supporting local militants, adding that all such activities have stopped after the abrogation of Article 370.

The court has now slated hearing in the petition to September 30. Last month, Parliament had passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019, bifurcating the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir with legislature and Ladakh without it. Following this, a batch of petitions were filed in the top court challenging it.

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