The Central government on Tuesday said that the freedom of speech and expression is there in Jammu and Kashmir but inciting speeches must be stopped.
Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, made the contentions on petitions filed by Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad with respect to the imposition of communication and other blockades in the region.
"Proactive and inciting speeches should be stopped and at the same time, freedom of speech and expression must be there," Mehta told a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana.
In August, the central government had scrapped Article 370 and bifurcate the erstwhile state into two UTs -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Following this, phone lines and the internet were blocked in the region.
While justifying certain restrictions imposed in the region, he said that "least restrictive measures" have been levied keeping in mind the inconvenience it may cause to people.
"No individual movement was restricted. Public movement and people's gathering were restricted to avoid any untoward situation to happen," Mehta said.
The counsel said that there is national trans-border issue in the region which have impacted many people. "What we did was only done in the interest of the public at large," he clarified.
Normalcy is gradually returning to Jammu and Kashmir as mobile and landline services have been restored in both UTs and restrictions under Section 144 on movement withdrawn or relaxed.