Writ Petition (Civil) Nos. 1031 and 1164 of 2019
N.V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy, and B.R. Gavai, JJ.
Decided On: 10.01.2020
For the safety and security of the state, a security advisory was emanated by the Civil Secretariat, Home Department, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, guiding all the tourist and yatris to reduce their stay in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and head back to their places. In the due course, the movement was confined in some areas and the mobile phone networks, internet services, landline connections were all desisted in the area.
The workplaces and educational institutions were instructed to remain closed until the new orders. Next day, the President issued a constitutional order 272, all the provisions of the constitution were applied to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Article 367 was adjusted for its implementation for the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Also, under section 144 of code of criminal procedure, all the movements, and public meetings were constricted because of these restrictions the journalist got very affected and two of them filed a writ petition and addressed the court under article 32 of the constitution of India. This petition is filed for countermanding all or any of the order(s) or circular(s) of desisting the mobile networks, internet services and landline connectivity.
Also, they asked for permitting the media to run their profession in safe environs. The petitioners also pleaded for new guidelines for the media employees that their right to report and publish news should not be curtailed. Furthermore, one of the petitioners, asserts that he was not allowed to travel to his constituency in Jammu & Kashmir and because of this he asserts that he was unable to contact the other crew members of his constituency.
• Whether the freedom of the press was infringed because of the curtailment?
• Whether desisting of the mobile networks, internet services, and landline connectivity is justifiable.
• The adjudication of the Supreme Court about the desisting of the internet or telecom services should only be done if the situation is unavoidable. Also, the desisting of the services should not be elongated till the ‘necessary time’ because there is no time limit provided under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Service (public emergency or public services) Rules, 2017.
• There was no same evidence problem of the prohibition of publishing the paper with other people of the same profession, so without such evidence, this was an emotive argument. Moreover, the honorable Supreme Court said that the freedom of the press should be respected by the government every time.
• It was held that section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure cannot be used to overcome the tenable expression of opinion or atrocity of any democratic rights, it is exercised when there is an alarm of danger or at the time of an emergency
The judgment, while not providing any prompt relief to the contrived citizens of Kashmir, opens the door to upcoming challenges in case of any arbitrary decision of the government by taking no notice of the key fundamentals laid down in it. A key endowment of the judgment is in propounding the doctrine of proportionality.