Orders Home Secy to appear before court on Thursday
Srinagar: ‘Access to justice is a fundamental right and cannot be impeded,’ the J&K High Court held while directing Home Secretary, Shaleen Kabra to appear before the court through video conferencing on Thursday explaining the impact of internet restrictions on the functioning of courts.
The court of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar recorded their concern towards the urgent issues involving rights of the residents of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
“We find that despite best efforts on the part of our IT experts, it has been impossible today to have even a bare semblance of a hearing. We struggled to have a virtual/or audio connectivity with the amicus curiae and the several counsels appearing before us. Even the Advocate General has expressed grave difficulty in joining the hearing,” the court said.
“Access to justice is a fundamental right and cannot be impeded. It has to be ensured to every citizen and courts are required to remain accessible,” Chief Justice Mittal recorded in the order.
While giving reference to Supreme Court’s order titled ‘Foundation for Media Professionals versus Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Anr.’ The Apex Court of India constituted a Committee at the highest level to undertake a review of connectivity restrictions imposed by the authorities.
“Given the extreme difficulty being faced by us, let Shaleen Kabra, Home Secretary appear before us through Video Conferencing and apprise this court about the impact of the restrictions on e-connectivity of the courts,” the court directed.
It is pertinent to mention that since August 5 last year when the Government of India abrogated Article 370 and 35 A, the Jammu and Kashmir is without high speed mobile internet, which is a recorded longest imposed suspension in a democracy across the world.