Jammu and Kashmir: A 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court pronounced the judgment.
The Supreme Court has said that any order that has been passed to restrict or suspend internet services in Jammu and Kashmir will be subject to judicial scrutiny and that the suspension of the internet should be reviewed. "Such suspension can only be for a limited time period and is subject to judicial review," it added. The court was delivering its verdict on a batch of pleas including that of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad challenging the restrictions imposed in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir following the scrapping of provisions of Article 370.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai pronounced the judgment. They had reserved the judgement on November 27 last year.
On November 21, the Centre had justified restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the provisions of Article 370 were removed and said that due to the preventive steps taken, neither a single life was lost nor a single bullet fired.
Provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of J&K, were scrapped by the Centre on August 5 last year.
Here are the LIVE updates from Supreme Court's verdict on J&K:
Historic judgement, says Ghulam Nabi Azad
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad hailed the Supreme Court order on Jammu and Kashmir, saying the government had tried to mislead the people and this time the apex court did not come under any pressure.
"We welcome this judgement. This is the first time the SC has talked about how people of J-K feel. I would like to thank the SC for a very historic decision and the people from across the country were waiting for it, specially the people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
"The government of India has misled the entire country. This time the SC was forthright and they didn''t come under any pressure," he added.
PM Modi reminded nation bows before Constitution, not him: Congress
Following the verdict, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala on Twitter says: "Supreme Court delivers first big jolt of 2020 to illegal activities of (PM) Modi Govt by stating importance of internet as a fundamental right."
"Double shock for Modi-Shah that dissent cannot be oppressed by imposing section 144."
What the Supreme Court said in the verdict:
- Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC cannot be imposed to crackdown dissent.
- Freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution includes Right to Internet.
- The restrictions on internet have to follow the principles of proportionality under Article 19(2).
- Suspension of internet for indefinite period not permissible.
- It can only be for a reasonable duration and periodic review should be done.
- Government should publish all orders of prohibition.
- While passing orders under Section 144 CrPC, the magistrate has to balance interests of individual rights and concerns of state.
Review all restrictive orders within a week: Supreme Court
Supreme Court orders Jammu and Kashmir administration to review all restrictive orders within a week. All orders are to be put in public domain which can then be challenged in a court of law, it adds.
Supreme Court, on the use of Section 144 in Jammu and Kashmir, says: "It can't be used as a tool to oppress difference of opinion."
Suspension of free movement, Internet and basic freedoms cannot be an arbitrary exercise of power, the court adds.
Internet suspension order needs to be reviewed: Supreme Court
Any order that has been passed to restrict or suspend internet services will be subject to judicial scrutiny, says Justice NV Ramana.
Supreme Court says suspension of the internet should be reviewed. "Such suspension can only be for a limited time period and is subject to judicial review," it says.
Supreme Court judges say: "Test of proportionality needs to be satisfied. This freedom can only be restricted after relevant factors are considered and only if there are no other options."
Kashmir has seen a lot of violence: Top Court
"Kashmir has seen a lot of violence. We will try our best to balance the human rights and freedoms with the issue of security," says Supreme Court, according to news agency ANI.
Freedom of speech includes right to internet: Top Court
Supreme Court, while hearing petitions on curbs in Jammu and Kashmir including internet ban, says internet is a tool of freedom of speech.
"Freedom of speech and expression includes right to internet within Article 19," says Justice NV Ramana.
"Our limited concern is to find a balance regarding security and liberty of people. We only here to ensure citizens are provided their rights. We will not delve into the political intent behind the orders given"
Supreme Court begins reading out the judgment
Justice NV Ramana begins reading out the judgment.
Justice Ramana reads out a passage from the classic 'Tale of two cities' before pronouncing the judgement
Supreme Court to declare its verdict shortly on pleas challenging curbs in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government's defense on curbs in Jammu and Kashmir
During last year's hearing, the Centre had referred to terror violence in the Kashmir Valley and said that for the past so many years terrorists were being pushed through from across the border, local militants and separatist organisation had held the civilians captive in the region and it would have been "foolish" if the government would not have taken preventive steps to secure the lives of citizens.