SMS services in Jammu and Kashmir will stay banned after the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed an order of the High Court lifting the curbs on electronic messages that allegedly was a source of rumours to fuel tensions during the protests over the Amarnath issue.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan while hearing a petition by the state government challenging yesterday's order agreed with its contention that the restrictions on SMS services were necessary as it was allegedly being used for aggravating violence by spreading rumours about the ongoing protests.
The Bench also stayed the Jammu and Kashmir High Court direction asking the district administration to treat press identity cards issued to media persons as curfew passes to enable them to perform their professional duties.
In the hurriedly moved petition, the state government contended that the division bench of the High Court on Monday failed to appreciate that it had become absolutely necessary and essential to curb and curtail violence which was also pepetuated through SMS messages circulated to general public.
The state government clarified that the curb imposed on the two TV channels -- in Jammu by the District Magistrate on August 3 was withdrawn in the evening itself after the high court order.
The High Court, which on Monday heard the issue at the residence of one of the judges, had allowed the petition filed by the Bar Association of Jammu that the restrictions imposed on SMS services and not honouring the curfew passes issued to media was violation of fundamental rights of citizens.
The Jammu and Kashmir government contended that the High Court should not have passed the ex-parte interim order and instead notice should have been issued to it for being heard.
The state government had imposed a ban on the SMS services on Sunday on the ground it was being used to whip up communal tension through rumours.