On Wednesday morning, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi sought responses from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea seeking the withdrawal of restrictions on media in the region. The restrictions were imposed on August 5, 2019 after the Central government revoked the special status of J&K under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. The notices were issued on the plea filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Editor, Kashmir Times. According to a report in DNA, Bhasin has said that the Kashmir Times, which is the largest circulated paper in the region has not been published in a long time and the restrictions are curbing the rights of the journalists which are mentioned in the constitution. The Centre and state have been given seven days to answer to Bhasin’s plea.
Bhasin in her plea has sought the restoration of all modes of communication, including mobile internet and landline services across state in order to facilitate an environment that would allow the media to function properly ad carry out its duties of reporting.
Bhasin’s plea was opposed by the Press Council of India last week and said in its intervention petition that it supported the media ban in J&K, maintaining that it was in the best interest of the integrity and sovereignty of the nation. However, after receiving widespread flak from journalists, it changed its stand and on Tuesday said the council’s plea won’t support any kind of media restrictions.
The five – judge Constitution bench has said that it will also hear the petitions related to the withdrawal of J&K’s special status in the first week of October.