Press Trust of India

Court’s job to strike balance between liberty and security concerns in JK: SC

Court’s job to strike balance between liberty and security concerns in JK: SC
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New Delhi: The court’s job is “to strike a balance between the liberty and security concerns” in Jammu and Kashmir so that the right to life is secured and enjoyed by everyone in the best possible manner, the Supreme Court said on Friday.

Quoting the famous opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ novel, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said Jammu and Kashmir has been a hot bed of terrorist insurgencies for many years.

“Although cherished in our heart as a ‘Paradise on Earth’, the history of this beautiful land is etched with violence and militancy. While the mountains of Himalayas spell tranquillity, yet blood is shed every day.

“In this land of inherent contradictions, these petitions (filed to remove restrictions) add to the list, wherein two sides have shown two different pictures which are diametrically opposite and factually irreconcilable.

“In this context, this Court’s job is compounded by the magnitude of the task before it. It goes without saying that this Court will not delve into the political propriety of the decision taken herein, which is best left for democratic forces to act on,” the apex court said.

“Our limited scope is to strike a balance between the liberty and security concerns so that the right to life is secured and enjoyed in the best possible manner,” it said.

The bench also comprising justices B R Gavai and R Subhash Reddy noted the Centre’s submission that since 1990 to 2019, there have been 32,71,038 recorded incidents of terrorist violence in which 14,038 civilians have died, 5,292 security personnel were martyred and 22,536 terrorists were killed.

“The geopolitical struggle cannot be played down or ignored. In line with the aforesaid requirement, we may note that even the broadest guarantee of free speech would not protect the entire gamut of speech. The question which begs to be answered is whether there exists a clear and present danger in restricting such expression,” the bench said.

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