The Supreme Court Wednesday allowed CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to visit Jammu and Kashmir to enquire about colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami’s health.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “If a citizen wants to visit a part of the country, he must have access to.” It, however, directed Yechury to only meet Tarigami and not use the visit for any political purpose.
To Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submission that Tarigami was a person who had Z category security and was “not the kind of person who would go missing”, the CJI said “whether it’s Z or Z plus, if a citizen wants to visit a part of the country, he must have access to”.
The court, however, told Senior Counsel Raju Ramachandran who appeared for Yechury that the visit shall not be used for any other purpose except to enquire about Tarigami’s health. The bench also asked the state to facilitate the travel. The bench said if Yechury indulges in any political activities, authorities are free to report them to the apex court.
Hours after the order, Yechury said he would travel to Kashmir on Thursday. “The Supreme Court has permitted me to go to Srinagar and see Com Yousuf Tarigami and ‘report’ back to them on the condition of his health. Once I meet him, return and report to the Court, I will make a more detailed statement,” he tweeted.
The bench also allowed a student of Jamia Millia University who had moved the court saying he had not been able to see his parents to visit Anantnag to see them. It also asked the state to make arrangements for this.
In a separate order, the apex court referred to a larger bench a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to revoke provisions of Article 370, which granted Jammu and Kashmir special status, and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under lockdown since August 4 after the government snapped mobile lines, internet connections and cable TVs.