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SC ought to have put everything aside for this: Dushyant Dave on J&K hearing delay

“This involves the fundamental liberties of seven million people. They are as much citizens of India as anyone else. Nothing is more important than this,” he told a three-judge bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana. “This court ought to have put ever...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 19, 2019, 11.08 PM IST
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BCCL
Dushyant Dave
“Unfortunately nothing has happened from August to November 2019,” the advocate said.
NEW DELHI: Senior advocate Dushyant Dave on Tuesday made a passionate plea before the Supreme Court seeking to know why petitions challenging the unprecedented lockdown in J&K following the central government decision to carve the state into two separate union territories, were not given priority.

“This involves the fundamental liberties of seven million people. They are as much citizens of India as anyone else. Nothing is more important than this,” he told a three-judge bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana. “This court ought to have put everything aside and heard this matter as it involves the fundamental rights of so many,” he said.

He was referring to the long delay in hearing petitions filed by several individuals and organisations challenging the sweeping detention orders and the complete communication lockdown in the state. The lockdown includes curbs on movement and travel besides ban on post-paid services, Internet and SMS services. Only land lines and pre-paid mobile phones were restored after the lockdown.

“Unfortunately nothing has happened from August to November 2019,” the advocate, who appeared for the foundation of media professionals, said. Justice Ramana defended the bench by saying that they “were concerned by the situation” in J&K and put the blame on systemic problems such as the huge pendency of cases, for the delay.

BAN ORDERS QUESTIONED
Dave was equally critical of the government for imposing Section 144 (ban orders) on the whole state. This was done to prevent criticism of the abrogation of Article 370, he charged. Terrorism was only a ruse, he said.

“Can a responsible democratic government, a dulyelected government assume that every citizen of the state was a potential terrorist? Every citizen has the right to debate the burning issue of the day, ” he said.

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