No improvement in ground situation, state counsel tells HC
The state government today indicated that it may continue with the social media ban in the Kashmir valley as the ground situation has still not improved.
While seeking more time before the government actually reviews the order, the state counsel today submitted before the High Court that there was no improvement in the situation in the Valley and it was actually going from bad to worse.
Observing that the social media ban cannot be a “permanent fixture”, the High Court today directed the state government to review the “impugned” order and file a reply by May 24, the next date of hearing.
Citing maintenance of public order, the government on April 26 ordered a one-month ban on 22 social media sites, mobile phone messengers and video-uploading sites in the Valley by invoking the provision of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.
However, the ban order was challenged by two petitioners before the High Court, which on May 8 issued notices to the respondents with directions to the J&K Government to file objections by May 16.
As the matter came up before the court today, Additional Advocate General Bashir Ahmad Dar, representing J&K Government, sought time to file objections.
However, at this point, Justice Sudhakar Ramalingam observed that “the ban cannot be a permanent fixture”, saying that there must be “periodical reviews” after assessing the situation.
“In the interest of justice, the respondents are given one more opportunity to file a reply by May 24,” Justice Sudhakar observed in his orders.
Meanwhile, Dar further submitted that a lot of lives had been lost due to the misuse of social media, adding that it was for the same reason that state was regulating social media in Kashmir.