The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review the restrictive orders imposed in the region within a week. “Kashmir has seen a lot of violence. We will try our best to balance the human rights and freedoms with the issue of security,” a two-judge bench headed by Justice N V Ramana stated while reading out the judgment copy.
Calling the freedom of speech “an essential tool in a democratic set up”, Justice Ramana said that the freedom to access internet “is a fundamental right” under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution. The top court pronounced the verdict on a number of petitions challenging the restrictions and internet blockade imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.
The Supreme Court had on November 27 reserved the judgment on a batch of petitions challenging restrictions imposed on communication, media and telephone services in Jammu and Kashmir pursuant to revocation of Article 370. The court heard the petitions filed by various petitioners including Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin.
The petitions were filed after the central government scrapped Article 370 in August and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Following this, phone lines and the internet were blocked in the region. The government has said that it has progressively eased restrictions.
(With ANI Inputs)