August 13, 2019

SC Keeps Activist Tehseen Poonawalla’s Plea Against J&K Shutdown Pending; Likely To Hear Matter After Two Weeks

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


A recent petition filed by activist Tehseen Poonawalla against the shutdown of communication services in Jammu & Kashmir has been kept pending by the Supreme Court, which is expected to hear the matter after two weeks.

Poonawalla had urged the court recently to direct withdrawal of curfew as well as restrictions and all other regressive measures including blocking of phone lines, internet and news channels.

The petition had also requested for the immediate release of all political leaders who have been kept in illegal custody since August 4, 2019.

The plea had also asked for the appointment of a judicial commission which could visit Jammu & Kashmir in order to ascertain the ground situation as well as file a status report before the Supreme Court.

The petition had challenged the continued detention of political leaders, the undeclared curfew and shutdown of services in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre’s decision to deactivate Article 370 of the Constitution.

Poonawalla’s lawyer Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy proceeded to ask the Supreme Court bench if a prohibition on communication of all sorts in Kashmir could be valid.

After the court asked the Attorney General KK Venugopal how long the Centre plans to impose the shutdown in the region, the latter replied that it could take a few days and the situation is being reviewed every day, so that restrictions may be lifted step by step.

When Poonawalla’s lawyer Guruswamy stated that at least hospitals, schools and police stations must be allowed to function, the court replied that the Centre must be given some time to bring back normalcy.

Later, Poonawalla’s lawyer suggested that the matter be taken up in two weeks adding that if the Centre’s intention is to make Kashmiris full citizens, then they cannot be completely restricted.

The Supreme Court agreed to keep the matter pending, and decided to list it in two weeks' time, without passing any order for the moment.

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