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SC judgement on J&K: Here are key highlights

SC judgement on J&K: Here are key highlights

SC judgement on J&K: Here are key highlights
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By CNBC-TV18 Jan 10, 2020 3:12:40 PM IST (Updated)

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review and place in the public domain within a week all orders imposing curbs in the union territory following the abrogation of Article 370.

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review and place in the public domain within a week all orders imposing curbs in the union territory following the abrogation of Article 370.

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A bench of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashir following the abrogation of Article 370.
Here are the key highlights of the judgement:
While delivering the judgement, Justice Ramana cited lines from Charles Dickens' "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, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us."
"We were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."It observed that internet access is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution. The apex court said that the indefinite suspension of the internet in J&K was in violation of Telecom Rules.
Expression through the internet has gained contemporary relevance and is one of the major means of information diffusion. Therefore, the freedom of speech and expression through the medium of internet is an integral part of Article 19(1)(a) and accordingly, any restriction on the same must be in accordance with Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
The court said that curtailing fundamental rights of the citizens should not be an arbitrary exercise of power, rather it should be based on objective facts.
The power under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C) can’t be used to suppress legitimate expression of opinion or grievance or exercise of any democratic rights, it stated.
"It goes without saying that the Government is entitled to restrict the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) if the need be so, in compliance with the requirements under Article 19(2)."
On freedom of press, the court said: “There is no doubt that the freedom of press is a valuable and sacred right enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. This right is required in any modern democracy without which there cannot be transfer of information or discussion for a democratic society.”
"Our limited scope is to strike a balancebetweenthe liberty and security concerns sothattheright to life is secured and enjoyed in the best possible manner," the court said.
"In the present case, while the state initially claimed privilege, they subsequently dropped the claim and produced certain sample orders, citing the difficulty to produce all the orders before this Court. In our opinion, this is not a valid ground to refuse production of orders before the court."
The government, however, cited national security and said that these were temporary measures in view of the prevailing situation in the region.
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