NEW DELHI : In a spell of relief to the people of Kashmir, the Supreme Court on Friday said, the indefinite internet shutdown is an abuse of power and ordered the Jammu Kashmir administration to review all restrictive orders across the state in a week’s time.
“Suspension of free movement, internet and basic freedoms cannot be an arbitrary exercise of power,: said the Supreme court emphasising that “mere expression of dissent or disagreement against a government decision, cannot be reason for internet suspension.”
Jammu Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories as part of government decision to scrap Article 370 on 5 Aug 2019. As precaution to massive outburst over the historic move, the Centre severed communication and placed several political leaders including former chief ministers under detention since. 5 August.
Justice NV Ramanna, who delivered the ruling, began by quoting the famous preface from Charles Dickens’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities “ - “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”
The judge questioned the necessity for such absolute curb saying “This freedom can only be restricted after relevant factors are considered and only there are no other options.”
The three-judge Bench included Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice BR Gaval.
The apex court also criticised repeated use of Sec 144, a colonial-era rule to ban large gatherings, saying “It can’t be used as a tool to oppress difference of opinion. .