J and K High Court's healing touch to media in curfew-hit Jammu

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Jammu, Aug 4 (UNI) Coming to the rescue of the Press, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today directed the district administration to treat Press Identity tity Cards of media persons as 'curfew passes' so as to enable them to perform their professional duties.

In a petition filed by the Bar Association Jammu through its President B S Salathia and General Secretary Pawan Maini against imposing restrictions on the Press, a Division Bench, specially constituted for the hearing of the petition, comprising Justice J P Singh and Sunil Hali, held the Court at the residence of Justice Singh and stayed the order of the District, Administration of August 2.

The Court permitted transmission of both the channels and also directed the administration to lift the ban on SMS (short message ervice) till next date of hearing.

The Bench also directed the District administration to ensure that curfew passes issued by it to the media persons and others are honoured by the law enforcing/curfew enforcing agencies, including the Army.

The Court also directed the local administration to ensure that those needing immediate medical help are permitted to reach hospital/dispensaries to avail medical facilities.

According to the Secretary General BAJ Advocate Pawan Manni, this petition was filed last evening before the Registrar Judicial of J and K High Court, Jammu Wing at his residence and on the basis of the this petition Chief Justice of J and K High Court constituted a Special Bench for the hearing of this petition which was treated as a PIL.

In view of the submissions made by the advocates Abhinav Sharma and Chander Mohan Sharma (Vice-President BAJ), the Division Bench treated this petition as a Public Interest Litigation and issued notice for Rule Nisi to the respondents -- State of J and K through Commissioner/Secretary Home, District Magistrate Jammu, DIG Jammu and Divisional Commissioner Jammu -- for August 8, 2008.

Two popular TV new channels and cable TV operators were banned while journalists were put to hardships by the administration alleging that they were reporting provocative content in connection with on going agitation in the Jammu region for restoration of land to the SASB.

UNI VJ RC RK1830

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