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SC directs publication of review orders in relation with internet curb in J&K

During the hearing, a counsel for the Foundation for Media Professionals submitted that all states where restrictions were imposed on the Internet at one time or another have published the review orders.
Last Updated 23 February 2024, 13:59 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to publish the review orders of the special committee under the Union Home Secretary on the restoration of Internet services in the Union Territory.

A three-judge bench led by Justice B R Gavai said, "Taking into consideration that even a review order would result in affecting rights of the parties … We express our prima facie opinion, though it may not be necessary to publish review deliberations, orders passed in the review need to be published."

The bench, also comprising justices J B Pardiwala and Sandeep Mehta, disposed of the plea by the Foundation for Media Professionals.

During the hearing, a counsel for the Foundation for Media Professionals submitted that all states where restrictions were imposed on the Internet at one time or another have published the review orders. He stressed that it is beyond his comprehension why only Jammu and Kashmir is resisting it.

"All other states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya ... including border states … have published it. There is no tenable order," he said.

The counsel submitted these orders have been mandated by law and failure to do so was against the spirit of the order of the top court in the Anuradha Bhasin case.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the J&K administration, contended that the review order is an internal mechanism and there is no impediment to publishing the same.

On January 30, the Supreme Court had said that the review orders in connection with internet restriction in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are not supposed to be kept in the cupboard, rather they should be published.

The court had in May 2020 asked the Centre to set up a special committee to assess the necessity of restrictions on the internet in J&K. The Union government began tightening restrictions on the internet in J&K in 2019 following the abrogation of Article 370. Journalist Anuradha Bhasin moved the Supreme Court in 2020 seeking a review of the restrictions.

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(Published 23 February 2024, 13:59 IST)

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