Centre, J&K Suppressed Orders Related to Communication Blockade, SC Told

Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin accused the government of filing evasive pleadings to avoid a determination on the constitutionality of its orders.

New Delhi: The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration have “suppressed” the relevant orders and notifications related to the shutdown of communication and internet blockade in the Valley from the Supreme Court, a senior journalist has alleged.

Executive Editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin, who has filed a petition in the apex court on the restrictions imposed by the authorities following the dilution of Article 370 on August 5, said this in her rejoinder affidavit.

The affidavit came into the public domain on Monday, the day when post-paid mobile services were restored in the Valley.

“The respondent two (J&K administration) has suppressed relevant orders/ notifications/ circulars/ directions/documents which are essential for proper adjudication of the present writ petition and require judicial scrutiny for determining its constitutionality,” Bhasin said in her counter affidavit.

She said the Centre has also suppressed such orders and not placed them before the court.

“The respondent nos. 1 and 2 (Centre and J&K) have not placed any such orders before this court and suppressed the said orders in its affidavit,” it said.

They have filed “evasive pleadings, to avoid a determination on the constitutionality of the relevant orders, while emphasising situations of the past rather than the present,” the counter-affidavit said.

As per the official position of the Centre, “militancy and terrorism in Kashmir has significantly reduced, thus there is little or no reason for sweeping and generalised apprehensions about disturbance of peace and order or the dissemination of iniquitous rumours and fake propaganda”, it said.

Bhasin has further stated that she and her staffers were able to print a “truncated version” of the newspaper from Srinagar on October 11 but only about 500 copies could be printed due to operational roadblocks created by the communication shutdown.

She had earlier told the top court that even over a month after the scrapping of provisions of Article 370, journalists were “not allowed to move freely in the state”.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta had earlier told the court that the editors of Kashmir Times chose not to publish their newspaper from Srinagar. The Centre had also said that many newspapers were being published from Srinagar.