Restrictions have to be reasonable: Azad to SC

"This country is facing the problem of terrorism. No one can deny this fact. We have to deal with this situation together. But, this does not mean that you can paralyse entire seven million people of the state," he said.
Restrictions have to be reasonable: Azad to SC
File Photo: Mir Imran/GK

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that he accepts the country is facing the problem of militancy but it does not mean that the government can paralyse the lives of 7 million people of Jammu and Kashmir by imposing restrictions post the abrogation of Article 370.

He said the government claims that prohibitory orders undersection 144 of CrPC have been withdrawn from all police stations in Jammu andKashmir but there are no such withdrawal orders in public domain.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B RGavai reserved its verdict on pleas filed by Azad and Kashmir Times EditorAnuradha Bhasin challenging the curbs imposed in J&K.

The top court observed that it needs to create a balance betweenthe rights of citizens and the national security of the state.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Azad said thatthe statistics submitted by the state administration to claim return ofnormalcy was far from the ground reality and the top court has to decide thevalidity of the restrictions on the basis of legal principles.

"This country is facing the problem of terrorism. Noone can deny this fact. We have to deal with this situation together. But, thisdoes not mean that you can paralyse entire seven million people of thestate," he said.

Referring to prohibitory orders, Sibal said that nowhere ithas been stated in the orders of magistrate that restrictions have been imposedon the ground of national security.

"Not a single order of magistrate on section 144 saidthat the restrictions are being imposed on account of national security. Nowhere it is reflected in the orders nor it relies on the statistics. Thesection 144 order only speaks of law and order situation," he said, whilecontradicting the arguments.

Sibal said that Jammu and Kashmir administration hascontended that situation is fast returning to normalcy and prohibitory ordershave been lifted from all the police stations except for the night time.

He said that no order has been brought on record to showthat prohibitory orders have been withdrawn and court must accept thecontention only on affidavit.

"Security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir know themischief makers. They can identify them but there cannot be any section 144order for keeping in confine seven million people of the state. They have topass the test of reasonableness laid down by the apex court," he added.

Sibal concluded his arguments saying that it's not aboutpast but for the future of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that top court hasto decide the matter and courts are the custodian of rights of the people.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Bhasin termed thecurbs "unconstitutional" and said the restrictions have to pass thetest of proportionality.

She said that Jammu and Kashmir administration reference toprohibitory orders has no application of mind and are vague.

The bench then asked the petitioners and Jammu and Kashmiradministration to file the written submission as early as possible and reservedthe verdict.

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