New Delhi, Jan 10: Hailing the order by the Supreme Court to review the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370 in the state, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said termed the verdict as 'historic'.
"There is doubt in the public's mind about the situation in Kashmir. Section 144 was in force throughout Kashmir, internet shutdown, communication was down. So, we had filed a petition in the Supreme Court to lift section 144. Historic verdict has been pronounced by a three judge Supreme Court bench", Mr Sibal said while addressing a press conference at AICC headquarters.
Reading out the directions from the apex court, the Congress spokesperson said, authorities are directed to publish all orders in force and any future orders under section 144, and for suspension of telecom services, including internet, to enable affected persons to challenge it before the High Court or appropriate forum.
"We declare that freedom of speech and expression and the freedom to practice any profession or carry on any trade, business or occupation over the medium of internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1)(g)", Mr Sibal quoted the from the verdict and added that, "the restriction upon such fundamental rights should be in consonance with the mandate under Article 19 (2) and (6) of the Constitution, inclusive of the test of proportionality".
Stating that the apex court's order over the suspending internet service that it can be utilised for temporary duration only, Mr Sibal said it is a welcome step from the Supreme Court.
"Any order suspending internet issued under the suspension rules, must adhere to the principle of proportionality and must not extend beyond necessary duration", he pointed out the court order.
Earlier in the day, the apex court had said the existing suspension rules neither provide for a periodic review nor a time limitation for an order issued under the suspension rules, a review review committee must conduct a periodic review within seven working days of the previous review.
"We direct the respondent state/competent authorities to review all orders suspending internet services forthwith", quoted Mr Sibal and said it is a big step.
Referring to the Supreme Court order on the imposition of section 144, Mr Sibal said that the apex court clearly stated the power under Section 144, cannot be used to suppress legitimate expression of opinion or grievance or exercise of any democratic rights.
"Repetitive orders under Section 144, Cr.P.C. would be an abuse of power", he quoted the court order.
Earlier in the day, Congress welcomed the Supreme Court order and had said it was the 'big jolt' for the Narendra Modi government. (UNI)