One month since all communications were snapped in Kashmir, a Bengaluru based student has filed a writ petition in the second week of August, in Karnataka High Court citing that Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution are being violated.
The petitioner who hails from Pulwama district of Kashmir, highlights that there is absolutely no legal basis for this communication blockade in Kashmir.
He further argued in his petition that people were misled into believing that this was done under the presence of a threat to the nation’s security.
The petitioner said his parents are chronically ill and he has no way to know of their well being. This is especially heightened due to the reports that medical care is not abundant in the Valley in the shutdown, he asserted in his petition.
The writ petition also claims that the Respondents - Union of India, represented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the State of Kashmir, represented by the Chief Secretary, have denied the Petitioner his constitutional rights.
The writ petition, filed under Article 226, demands the issuance of an order that enables the petitioner and others like him, to exercise their right to know, communicate and receive information under Articles 14 and 19. To live a dignified life, which involves a sub-section that encompasses the right to a family life.
The Petition was filed and argued by Mr. Vishwajith Sadanand and Mr. Ravi Varma Kumar, part of Internet Freedom Foundation. A similar petition, filed by Tehseen Poonawalla is also pending before the Supreme Court.
The full text of the petition argues that the lock-down in the Kashmir Valley is illegal on the following grounds:
1. Lack of a legal basis
Citizens are unaware of the nature of order, issuing body, authority, scope and intent of the order. They do not know why the order has been imposed even now, 30 days later. This means their was no prior order by no authority, and this imposition was not substantiated by any legal claim whatsoever.
2. Lack of a legitimate aim
The failure to issue a public order/notice also fails to determine the exact aim of this lockdown, making it difficult to ascertain why this whole order was implemented and what is to be gained out of this blockade.
3. Lack of suitability under extraordinary circumstances
The Petitioner states that it is an irrational way to dispel fears, to shut down communication services is no way to curb violence.
4. Unreasonable restrictions amounting to extinguishment of rights
This denies the right to information, communication; and extinguishes many constitutional fundamental rights.
5. Availability of less restrictive alternatives
Shutdown of landline services was not even implemented in Kargil War, and this happens now before the repealing of Article 370. When it was restored also people had to wait for a day to get a one-two minute call, this is an incredibly restrictive alternative and there is no other less restrictive alternative.