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August 5 not always august

Solicitor-general asks the Supreme Court to defer hearing of contempt petition
On May 11, the apex court had asked the government to form a high-powered committee to review the 4G curbs in J&K.

Our Legal Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 29.07.20, 02:41 AM

To the government, August 5 is not always an auspicious date.

Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta on Tuesday objected when the Supreme Court initially adjourned to August 5 a contempt petition moved against the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration for failing to take steps towards restoring 4G Internet services in J&K.

“Your Lordships, it would be better to have it on another date, as August 5 is the date of imposition of Internet curbs in the (erstwhile) state.... There is some special significance in Kashmir (about August 5). Please give a different date,” Mehta, representing the J&K administration, urged.

The bench of Justices N.V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy and Bhushan Gavai agreed and posted the hearing to August 7 after senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the petitioner, said he had no objections to the request.

On May 11, the apex court had asked the government to form a high-powered committee to review the 4G curbs in J&K. The Foundation for Media Professionals, an NGO, has moved the contempt plea citing the government’s failure to constitute the committee.

August 5 will mark the first anniversary of the revocation of J&K’s special status. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to lay the foundation stone for the proposed Ram Temple in Ayodhya on August 5, suggesting the date is seen as propitious when it comes to the ruling BJP’s core political agendas.

Mehta also argued that the home ministry officials expected to assist him in the matter would be busy with J&K on August 5.

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