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Govt should be given reasonable time to ensure normalcy in J&K: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has refused to interfere in administrative restrictions imposed on communication and people’s movement in Jammu and Kashmir after Centre removed the special status enjoyed by it under Article 370. The top court said it was too early for it to intervene and that it was against playing the role of a day-to-day administrator. .

The Supreme Court adjourned Congress activist Tehseen Poonawala’s plea –challenging the Centre’s decision to impose restrictions and “other regressive measures” in Jammu and Kashmir– for two weeks. The plea seeks withdrawal of ‘curfew, restrictions’ and other alleged regressive measures including blocking of phone lines, internet and news channels in J&K.

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“The court cannot be interfering in day-to-day administration. This is a serious situation,” the SC observed in between the arguments made by the petitioner’s counsel and the government.

While the court agreed that the facilities the petitioner demanded to be restored were important, but normalcy had to be restored first, it felt.

The court added that while it was the job of the administration to return normalcy, it must ensure that no loss of lives took place.

The Supreme Court also said it was willing to wait before deciding if intervention was required.

“Some reasonable time should be given to restore normalcy…in case the position remains like this then we will take a call,” the court observed.

During arguments, petitioner claimed residents were unable to access hospitals or police stations like before.

However, the court felt in the absence of facts it was not possible to issue any orders.

“We are with you on life and liberty. Situation is such that we should have a real picture. This court is not posted with the details. Let us wait for some time,” the Supreme Court said.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, who is representing the Centre said the clampdown was to avoid a repetition of 2016 protests and killings that led to 44 deaths after security men shot down three militants.

Venugopal said there was proof to show how separatists had instigated the common people and instructions were issued from beyond the borders, while justifying the security measures in place in Jammu and Kashmir.

Assuring the court, KK Venugopal said the situation in J&K was being reviewed every day and there were signs of improvement. “In 2016, normalcy was restored in three months. Hopefully the present situation would normalise soon,” he said.

First Published:
Aug 13, 2019 13:31 IST

Source: HindustanTimes