Jammu and Kashmir: SC on Contempt Plea against Jammu and Kashmir Administration in 4G Restoration Matter

A Bench of Justices NV Ramana, R. Subash Reddy and BR Gavai heard the matter and asked Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, whether it was possible to restore 4G internet services in some areas.

The Bench, while noting that they could not speak for the ground situation there, asked the SG whether 4G services could be restored in certain areas.

At this juncture, Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing on behalf of the Petitioner, submitted, “SG appears for UT of J&K, and AG for the Centre. On the last date of hearing, SG had said that he does not even want to file a Reply. AG said that he does not want to file a Reply. Now today, the submission for replying has come from the Union.”Justice Ramana noted this and stated, “I understand you have waited for a while; wait for another two days.” Justice Reddy informed the Counsels that the question here was solely about contempt. As the SG was appearing for the Centre, he sought for adjournment ‪till Tuesday‬ as it was a minor issue. Justice Ramana allowed the same, but he informed the SG that he should not go strictly by contempt and should prepare an answer about whether any area was open for the restoration of 4G internet services. Accordingly, the matter has been adjourned to ‪August 11.‬ The Bench has made it clear that no further adjournment shall be granted on that date.

The instant plea seeks contempt action against Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Chief Secretary, U.T. of Jammu & Kashmir alleging non-compliance of the ‪May 11‬ judgment of the Supreme Court, which had directed that a “Special Committee” be constituted to “immediately” to determine the necessity of continued restriction of mobile internet speeds in Jammu & Kashmir to 2G only.

Earlier, Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the Foundation for Media Professional, argued that Mehta had in the last hearing appeared for the Union Territory of J&K. “On the last date of hearing, they said they want to go through the rejoinder filed by the petitioners. It is apparent that they are taking time,” he added
The bench noted that the petitioners have relied on a statement given by the then LG, but he has since been changed. The bench asked Ahmadi to wait for a few more days.
“We need to see what the government has to say. Then we will see if there is any contempt,” noted the bench.

The apex court was hearing a petition for contempt of court action against officials for allegedly defying court orders on the constitution of a special committee to review the Internet restrictions in J&K.

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