NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant General G C Murmu on Tuesday invited ire of the Centre in the Supreme Court on his claim that the 4G Internet service can be restored in the Union Territory, contrary to a Centre’s affidavit that a special committee set up at the instance of the court declined to approve restoration of the 4G service after a review of the situation.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for NGO Foundation for Media Professionals, drew attention of the court to the statement of the Lt Governor as also BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on restoration of the 4G services.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said that the reported statements of the two need to be verified and sought time to respond as also to file a reply to the rejoinder affidavit of the NGO, prompting the court to adjourn the matter without further hearing.
The Court was also surprised from the contention of the J&K LG since it ran contrary to submissions of the Centre taken on record that the high-speed Internet service cannot be restored because it would be misused in view of the continuous infiltration, foreign (Pakistan) influence, violent extremism and issues of the national integrity prevalent in the territory.
A Bench of justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai adjourned the hearing on the contempt petition of the NGO for August 7. It wanted the next hearing on August 5, but agreed to August 7 on Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s plea to have a different date since it was on August 5 that the internet curbs were imposed and Article 370 applicable to J&K was abrogated. Mehta was appearing for the J&K Government.
The high speed Internet services remains suspended in J&K since last August when the special status to the state was revoked and the state was bifurcated into two UTs — Ladak and J&K.
The contempt petition has been filed by the Delhi-based NGO against the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of J&K for their alleged “wilful disobedience” of the Court’s May 11 order, claiming that special committee ordered by it has not been constituted. The NGO wanted both the home secretary and the chief secretary summoned to explain the alleged non-compliance of the court’s directive.
Besides the contempt plea, the NGO also wanted constitution of the special committee within three working days and interim order to restore the 4G internet services. The Attorney General, however, denied the contempt charge, asserting that the court’s directives have been complied with.
The Solicitor General sought time to reply to a lengthy rejoinder by the NGO and the senior lawyer appearing for the NGO did not object since the rejoinder was served on the Centre and the J&K administration only Monday evening.