No emergency, yet fundamental rights abrogated: Ghulam Nabi Azad in SC

“We are nationalists too. We stand with the government against terrorism,” said senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was arguing Azad’s petition challenging the government’s refusal to let him visit the UT or address public rallies there.

Agencies
Rights could only be subjected to reasonable restrictions on grounds spelt out in 19(2), Sibal said.
NEW DELHI: Former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday complained to the Supreme Court over the ‘complete abrogation of all fundamental rights’ of the residents of the Union territory.

“We are nationalists too. We stand with the government against terrorism,” said senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was arguing Azad’s petition challenging the government’s refusal to let him visit the UT or address public rallies there. The SC had earlier allowed him to visit J&K and meet people on the promise that he would not indulge in political activities.

We are opposed to complete abrogation of all fundamental rights such as freedom to move through India freely, freedom to travel and the freedom of speech and expression, Sibal said.


The state can regulate fundamental rights but there cannot be complete abrogation of all rights when there is no internal disturbance or external aggression, Sibal said. There is no such thing as a complete abrogation of fundamental rights under Article 19, he argued.

Rights could only be subjected to reasonable restrictions on grounds spelt out in 19(2), Sibal said. What the government cannot do under Article 352 (Emergency) can it do otherwise, he asked. Justice NV Ramana, who is hearing the case, asked: “What happened in 1975? During Emergency?”

“Then, there was internal disturbance,” Sibal answered, suggesting in absence of a formal declaration of Emergency the government can’t en masse strip citizens of their fundamental rights. He said the rights of so many cannot be held hostage to the acts of a few bad elements. “Arrest them, detain them. But why the entire UT?”
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Sibal also claimed there was a complete ban on public transport in the UT since then. Ramana, sitting alongside two other judges, sought a report from the UT, represented by SG Tushar Mehta.



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