Anuradha Bhasin Vs. Union of India [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1031 of 2019] - Synopsis
Team SoOLEGAL 2 Jan 2021

On 10th  January, 2020, a bench of three judges, including Justice N V Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice B R Gavai, in the case Anuradha Bhasin Vs. Union of India [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1031 of 2019], had issued a judgement on a batch of petitions questioning the validity of the curfew and internet shutdown orders levied in Jammu and Kashmir following the repeal of the state's special status in August 2019. The Court while giving the order was of the view that, freedom of speech and expression, as well as freedom of commerce and trade through the Internet, are constitutionally guaranteed rights under Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(g) of Indian Constitution respectively. The Court noted that it is not appropriate to suspend the internet for an indefinite period and that repeated directions under Section 144 of the CrPC will constitute an abuse of powers. The Court had directed to follow the Proportionality Test to prevent from violation of natural justice. The Court had stated that Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure will only be applicable in an emergency situation.
The Court, however, did not abolish limitations on internet usage and on the movement of people, but the judgement expanded the meaning of freedom of speech and expression by adding the right of access to the Internet, which is an integral part of the Article which can only be limited in the sense of national security.
However, the Court did not provide immediate relief to the people harmed by the Government's orders but had set out principles regarding potential suspension orders and their processes to avoid misuse of powers by the State. The Court had directed the administration of Jammu and Kashmir to review all orders which are placed in the State after the revocation of State’s special status within a week. 


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