Oppn hails SC ruling on J&K: Understood pulse of people

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The Supreme Court had earlier declared Internet as a fundamental right of freedom of speech

Opposition parties on Friday hailed the Supreme Court directions on restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, calling the order “historic”. The Supreme Court had earlier declared Internet as a fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression and asked the J&K administration to review all orders imposing curbs in the Union Territory, including the 160-day Internet ban, within a week.

Welcoming the directions, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the entire country had been waiting for it. “The Supreme Court has told three-four things to the government which was on the minds of everyone...It seems the Supreme Court has understood the pulse of the people of Kashmir,” he said.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the Supreme Court order is a rebuff to the “unconstitutional and arrogant stance” of the Centre and the J&K administration on the restrictions. “The entire team in J&K that designed and executed the plan should be changed. A new set of administrators who respect the Constitution should be appointed,” he said. He also called for former J&K Governor to “own responsibility” and resign from his present post of Goa Governor.

Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the apex court has concluded that repetitive orders under CrPC Section 144 would be an abuse of power and argued that “in the context of Section 144 and Internet suspension...I think it is a historic verdict by the Supreme Court...I believe the people of Jammu and Kashmir will get relief....That is why we had gone to the court.”

The CPI(M) in a statement asked the Centre to remove all restrictions in J&K in light of the Supreme Court order. “The Supreme Court has made significant comments on the curbs on civil liberties in Jammu and Kashmir which belie the false claims of normalcy that the Central Government has been peddling...The Supreme Court has criticised the indefinite ban on Internet services holding that the use of internet is a constitutional right and is part of freedom of speech and expression. It has also held that the repeated use of Section 144 could not be used as a tool to oppress difference of opinion. While ordering a review of all such orders within a week it has also said that Government must put such orders in the public domain so that citizens affected have the right to challenge them,” the statement said.

The National Conference welcomed the Supreme Court directions and expressed hope that restoration of mobile Internet services will help ease the situation. “The observations of the apex court about snapping of Internet services indefinitely are significant and the government must take a call to review and restore the connectivity immediately,” NC provincial president Devender Singh Rana said.

The PDP said the apex court has “finally” woken up to “injustices” on the people of J&K. “Finally #SupremeCourt has woken up to the injustices cast upon the people of J&K, calling such govt. lodged curbs an ‘abuse’ of power reinstates our faith in the judiciary,” the party said on Twitter.

— With PTI inputs