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 Thursday fixed for hearing on September 16 pleas of the Kashmir Times Editor and others on alleged communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir. Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, told a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that even after a month of scrapping of Article 370, journalists were "not allowed to move freely in the state".

However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that editors of Kashmir Times chose not to publish their newspaper from Srinagar. The Centre told the bench that a large number of newspapers were being published from Srinagar. Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court that step by step relaxation was being allowed in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Solicitor General also told the bench that all other newspaper are being published from all the three places -- Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. He said, "My concern is why she (Bhasin) chose not to publish her newspaper from Srinagar". At the outset, advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the journalist, submitted that the Editor-in-chief of Kashmir Times travelled to many parts of the state and according to him, the situation was such that media cannot work due to "communication restrictions". She said it was not clear as to on what basis there is a "communication blockade" which has resulted in the information blackout.

The advocate claimed that during the Editor-in-chief's interaction with the people, one of the doctors spoke about the humanitarian medico-crisis. The editor also alleged that it is difficult to travel beyond Srinagar and journalists are finding it difficult to report. While she was making the submissions, some of the lawyers said they have filed a caveat in the matter and submitted that the petition of Bhasin was not maintainable.

However, the bench concluded the hearing in the matter by asking the parties to complete formalities of filing counter-affidavit and replies and posted the matter for final disposal on September 16. The court said it was not going to entertain the writ petition filed by Congress activist and businessman Tehseen Poonawalla seeking removal of restrictions in Kashmir Valley and made it clear that he can only make his stand clear as an intervener in the petition filed by Bhasin. The court said whatever grievances he has raised in the petition can be advanced during the hearing on September 16 by him as an intervener.

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