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Petitions on Art 370: Next hearing on Nov 14: SC grants Centre 28 days to reply

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Oct 1: A 5-judge Supreme Court bench that was hearing a bunch of petitions on the abrogation of Article 370 and other issues in Kashmir has granted the Centre four weeks’ time to reply to all pleas challenging the move.

The Supreme Court constitution has granted the government 28 days’ time to reply to all Kashmir petitions and one week to the petitioners to file their responses after the government’s reply.

The petitions on Kashmir will again be heard on November 14. Supreme Court has allowed the Centre and J&K administration to file counter-affidavits on petitions challenging scrapping of Article 370.

 

Attorney General KK Venugopal sought 4 weeks’ time while Solicitor General for Jammu and Kashmir also sought the same amount of time to file replies to the bunch of petitions.

The petitioners however opposed the Centre’s demand and said that the move will render all petitions infructuous or pointless.

This will be applicable to all petitions that were filed till Tuesday and the court said that the Supreme Court registry will not entertain any further writ petitions on the same issue.

Even as deadline for implementing the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir is on October 31, the Centre and J&K government has been given four weeks’ time to file reply to petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 and J&K Reorganisation Act.

The court refused to pass any order on the implementation of J&K Reorganisation Act and said any such move “can turn back the clock if we decide in your favour”. (Agencies)

‘Personal liberty must be balanced against nat’l security’

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, Oct 1: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it was important to balance the personal liberty of individuals with national security concerns while hearing petitions challenging the restrictions placed on media and communications since August in Jammu and Kashmir, Bar and Bench reported.

The restrictions were imposed on August 5, when the Union government scrapped special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Nearly two months after the decision, restrictions continue to be in place in many parts, with several Opposition political figures also under detention. The government has defended its measures citing law and order concerns.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, who was arguing for a Kashmiri law student, said that the situation in the Valley was not normal and it had experienced a “sustained media and communications blackout” for 57 days. “Liberty does not mean mere animal existence,” Hegde said. “Right to communicate with loved ones is included in the right to liberty.”

In response, Justice BR Gavai said: “Personal liberty will have to be balanced against the requirements of national security.” Gavai and Justices NV Ramana and R Subhash Reddy were hearing a batch of petitions filed by AnuradhaBhasin, the executive editor of Kashmir Times, activist TehseenPoonawalla and Foundation of Media Professionals, on the Kashmir matter on Tuesday.

Senior counsel Meenakshi Arora, who was arguing for Poonawalla, said that these petitions also raised the question of fundamental rights. “Can fundamental rights be pushed under the carpet,” she asked.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, who was representing Bhasin, asked under which notification communication lines were snapped in Kashmir, according to Live Law.

The court asked the Centre to respond to all the petitions that have been tagged with Bhasin’s and said it will next hear the matter on October 16. In her petition, AnuradhaBhasin claimed that the “information black hole” in the Kashmir Valley was continuing despite the administration’s claims that restrictions were being withdrawn. She added that the movement of journalists in Srinagar was being curbed.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir administration, told the court that if mobile and internet facilities were restored in the Valley, fake WhatsApp messages would be circulated across the border and could lead to violence. He added that all landlines were working and there were no restrictions on the movement of people.

A five-judge Supreme Court Constitution Bench on Tuesday granted the Centre four weeks to file its response to a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of Constitution. The Constitution Bench will hear the matter next on November 14.

These pleas have challenged the communication blockade in the state, the alleged illegal detention of children, and the impact of restrictions on healthcare. Three petitions against the security clampdown have been filed by advocates ML Sharma, Shakir Shabir and Soyaib Qureshi. National Conference Lok Sabha members Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi have filed a petition under Article 32 of Constitution, which allows the Supreme Court to issue any order to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. Child rights experts EnakshiGanguly and Shanta Sinha have filed a plea seeking clarity about reports of children being illegally detained by security forces.

A group of former defence personnel and bureaucrats, who have served in Jammu and Kashmir, have also challenged the Narendra Modi government’s decisions. A petition has also been filed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, challenging the validity of the revocation of the state’s special status.

No curbs on movement of media personnel: Centre

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, Oct 1: The Central government on Tuesday filed a counter-affidavit in a petition filed by Kashmir Times editor AnuradhaBhasin challenging the curb on media in Jammu and Kashmir in wake of the abrogation of its special status.

In the affidavit, the Centre contended that there are no restrictions on the movement of the media personnel in the region. “Regular press briefings and press releases are being organized to disseminate the information,” it stated.

The government said that the restrictions were imposed on the internet, mobile and landline telephones so as to prevent the dissemination of “rumors, fake propaganda, and activities that could disturb public order and tranquillity”.

They said that the attempt to engender the normalcy is being stalled by “separatist elements and militants”. “There have been numerous threats to common citizens from terror outfits threatening them from resuming normal salubrious life in the Kashmir valley,” the affidavit stated.

The health services are functioning normally, it said, adding that there is sufficient stock of essential and life-saving drugs and other medical requirements across the hospitals in the region.

Refuting this, advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing on the behalf of Bhasin, told the court that people are not being able to access the health care facilities in the region.

The top court also admitted an intervention application filed by Foundation for media professionals, through President ParanjuGuhaThakurta and Indian Journalists Union, in the case.

On this, the court has asked Centre to file an affidavit and posted the matter for hearing on November 16.

Bhasin filed the petition after the government on August 5 scrapped the provision of the article, which took away the special rights enjoyed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The UTs will come into being on October 31.


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Lead Stories

No power can stop KPs from returning to Kashmir: Rajnath

Press Trust of India

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Mangaluru, Jan 27: No power can now stop Kashmiri Pandits from going back to Kashmir, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday, forcefully defending the NDA government’s decision to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir and abrogating its special status under Article 370.

In an address at a rally, the defence minister also sent a strong message to Pakistan and said India will not let anyone live in peace if it is harmed.

“We will not touch anyone, but if someone bothers us, then we are not going to let them live in peace,” he said.

 

Referring to the exodus of a large number of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the late 1990s at the height of militancy, Singh said no power now can stop them from returning to their homes.

On the Citizenship Amendment Act, the minister said it is not a law to hurt the sentiments of any religion but to give relief to victims of religious persecution.

“Mahatma Gandhi had told Nehru to give citizenship to minorities like Hindus and Sikhs if they come to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled that vision by bringing in the law,” Singh said.

On several non-BJP states refusing to implement the CAA, the defence minister said it it is a central law and everyone should follow it.

Accusing the Congress of misleading people on the issue, he said the party should not forget its duty towards the nation just because it is in opposition.

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More snow, rains from today

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jan 27: The local meteorological department has predicted yet another spell of rains and snow in Kashmir from Tuesday, even as minimum temperatures settled above the freezing point on Monday, providing some relief to the people.

In a statement, the MeT department predicted widespread moderate rains and snow on Tuesday which will dwindle to scattered places by Wednesday.

“Generally cloudy sky to widespread light to moderate rain/snow from night of 27th January. Widespread moderate rain and snow for the next two days,” read the MeT statement.

 

On Monday, Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 0.6 degrees Celsius, up from the minus 0.2 degrees Celsius on Sunday, a MET official said.

He said the night temperature in the city was above the freezing point for the first time in recent days and it was 1.6 degrees above normal for this part of the season.

In Qazigund the gateway town to the valley in south Kashmir the minimum settled at a low of 0.8 degrees Celsius an increase of 1.5 degrees from the previous night’s minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

The night temperature in Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius down over seven degrees from the minus 3 degrees Celsius on Sunday and Pahalgam was the coldest recorded place in the Kashmir Valley, the official added.

The ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, registered a minimum of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius, the official added.

The night temperature in Kokernag in south settled at a low of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara in north recorded a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, the official said.

Leh in Ladakh Union Territory recorded a low of minus 18.4 degrees Celsius, he said, adding the nearby Drass registered a minimum of minus 27.8 degrees Celsius.

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Nixing Sher-e-Kashmir from awards political vendetta: NC

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jan 27: National Conference Monday took strong exception to axing of the name of Sheikh Abdullah from various J&K police gallantry awards, saying the measure has taken vendetta to a higher level.

During a meet of party functionaries here, the NC leaders and workers unanimously condemned the axing of ‘Sher-e-Kashmir from J&K Police gallantry awards.

“It is a calibrated effort to trim every single symbol of J&K’s political individuality. The present ruling dispensation in Delhi heaving with subjective prejudices and complexes against ideals revolving around the Indian constitution and the spirits of its accommodative federalism hasn’t ceased its witch hunt against everything recognisable with sheikh Abdullah. The axing of Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from state gallantry awards should be seen in that direction. It is yet another glaring attempt of perversion aimed to distort J&K’s history, which has long been familiarized with Sheikh Abdullah even decades after his physically leaving the world,” said party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar.

 

He said nixing Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from awards, and state holidays cannot erase him from J&K’s history.

“His persona is above petty recognitions, and awards. A conscious leader, he preached to his countrymen to overcome timidity and prejudices. He decried lack of courage as a biggest curse in achieving self-respect,” he said.

While rebuffing former deputy CM Nirmal Singh’s remarks on Sheikh Abdullah, Imran said: “We unequivocally condemn his uncouth remarks against Sheikh Sahib. Being lost into the obscurity he is hitting on the tallest political statesman and charismatic mass leader of J&K and Sub-continent to gain cheap publicity.”

Meanwhile party’s members of parliament Muhammad Akbar Lone and (Retd) Justice Hassnain Masoodi also condemned axing of Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from JK police gallantry awards, terming the move “vengeful and shocking”.

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