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Supreme Court refuses restoration of 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir

Team SoOLEGAL 12 May 2020 5:07pm

Supreme Court refuses restoration of 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir

New Delhi: On Monday, 11th May 2020, the Supreme Court declined the restoration of 4G cellular internet networks in Jammu and Kashmir, but has allowed the set up of a specialized committee, headed by the Union Home Secretary to take an argument on the problem.

In addition to the Union Home Secretary, the committee will comprise of J&K’s Secretary of Department of Telecommunications and Chief Secretary, directed by a three-judge Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana.

We do recognise that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been plagued with militancy, which is required to be taken into consideration. These competing considerations need to calibrated in terms of our judgment (on the lockdown in J&K) in Anuradha Bhasin (case)”,the Bench stated while reserving its judgment on 4 May.

Internet service in Jammu and Kashmir has been limited for several months. The last order was given on April 27, with the limitations extended until May 11.

Three petitioners, including the Jammu and Kashmir Foundation for Media Professionals and Private Schools Association, had opposed the internet speed restriction orders.

They had claimed that 2G Internet speed during the COVID-19 lockout was not adequate for access to online education and health care services.

Although the present orders indicate that they have been passed for a limited period of time, the order does not provide any reasons to reflect that all the districts of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir require the imposition of such restrictions”, the top court stated.

Bench also claimed that the special committee must also examine the adequacy of the alternatives suggested by the petitioners with respect to limited restrictions to those areas where it was essential and enabling faster internet access (3G or 4G) on a trial basis over some geographical regions and advise the government on the issue in terms of its course.

Better 4G Internet speed will give threat information regarding troop movements, Attorney General KK Venugopal said.

Previously, in an affidavit filed in reply to these petitions, the J&K administration claimed that, despite the peculiar geopolitical situation, fair restrictions were unavoidable.

Confirming that the right to access the Internet was not a fundamental right, the UT administration argued that it could be restricted in the interests of “sovereignty”,“security” and “integrity” of India.

 



Tagged: Supreme Court   4G services   Jammu and Kashmir   Union Home Secretary   Justice NV Ramana   COVID-19  
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