Govt gets from Supreme Court 2 weeks to explain highway ban

Govt gets from Supreme Court 2 weeks to explain highway ban

SRINAGAR: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a two-week notice to Government of India (GoI) and the JK Government to respond to the petition of Awami National Conference (ANC) challenging the ban on civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway.
ANC senior vice president Muzaffar Ahmad Shah told Kashmir Reader that the apex court has admitted their plea and asked both the governments to explain why the ban has been put in place. The Supreme Court, which has asked the central and state government to file their reply within 2 weeks, will now hear the matter on May 6, he said.
The petition which was filed soon after the ban was imposed has demanded the ban to be revoked immediately because it affects public movement. A group of seven lawyers led by Suhail Malik has appeared for the case. In the petition, it has been argued that the highway is the lifeline of J&K as 5 out of the 10 districts are connected by it in Kashmir Valley. It also said that seven important hospitals including 3 super specialty hospitals are situated on this highway and that 69 lac people are directly affected by this ban.
“The ban is under challenge as it violates Article 19 (1) (d) of the Constitution which allows freedom to move anywhere throughout the country and also the National Highways (Land & Traffic) Act, 2002, as per which such an order can only be issued by the “Highway Authority after it is published in the official gazette,” reads the ANC handout.
The ban was imposed from April 3 with effect till May 31. After resentment from across party lines, the government removed the ban partially from Srinagar-Baramulla, from two days to one day only. The order said there would be two “dedicated days every week” — Sunday and Wednesday — for movement of security forces’ convoy from Baramulla to Udhampur from 4AM to 5PM.