New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s counsel on the restrictions imposed during the 1975 Emergency, as he claimed that seven million lives in Kashmir were paralyzed with one stroke, after the revocation of Article 370, and this has never happened in the history of India.
Azad had moved the apex court after he was not allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir after Article 370 was revoked. In his plea, Azad had sought nod from the top court to visit his family members and relatives, and also permission to check on social conditions of the daily wagers in the region after restrictions were imposed. The apex court allowed him to visit four districts in Jammu and Kashmir and asked him to refrain from political activity during the visit.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal representing Azad contended before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana that there is no provision to impose these restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir citing internal disturbances. “After 1975 Emergency, this ground to impose restrictions was removed from the Constitution”, submitted Sibal.
Justice Ramana queried, “Has the apex court never decided an issue like this before?”
Sibal replied, seven million people have never been paralysed like this ever before in this country.
Justice Ramana again queried, “whatever happened in the 1970s, in the period of Emergency, what was it?
Sibal replied, then there was internal disturbance, but this provison was later removed. Therefore, citing internal disturbance to impose these restrictions is not correct.
The court asked Sibal, “you say the rights of seven million were paralysed, as there was fear that few may create trouble. How do you choose these few?”
Sibal said to find these few, the fundamental rights of all the people in the region cannot be taken away. Sibal also cited temporary suspension of internet when people from northeast of India had to evacuate Karnataka.
Sibal also informed the court about the lack of availability of public transport in the region along with the shutdown of internet services, which has created immense difficulty for the common people and have also hurt the people engaged in business.
Justice Ramana sought clarity from Jammu and Kashmir government – is there a ban on public transportation, and is it that the trucks and buses are not allowed?
The court sought clarification on Thursday at the beginning of the hearing. “The first thing you have to tell us how about the status of public transport”, said the court.
The hearing on the matter will continue.