The Supreme Court today has directed Centre to file its response on pleas challenging restriction on speed of internet in Jammu and Kashmir, and seeking restoration of 4G internet services.
A three-judge bench comprising of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Subhash Reddy and Justice BR Gavai heard the petition filed by Foundation of Media, where previously Court had issued notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
Justice Ramana enquired about the suo motu petition taken up by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir regarding the same issue where notice was issued to the State administration.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked for a week’s time to get instructions and proposed that the matter filed in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir may also be shifted to the Supreme Court. He also stated that a detailed report needs to be filed on whether the students in Jammu and Kashmir even have laptops to study.
Attorney General KK Venugopal contended that the issue of militancy is a prevailing issue in Jammu and Kashmir which is still present and must not be overlooked. Senior Advocate Ahmadi responded by stating that in such situation, 4G can be restored in areas where militancy is not a big issue.
The Bench acknowledged a petition with a similar prayer filed by Private Schools Association, Jammu and Kashmir, challenging the Government orders dated 18th Jan 2020, 24th Jan 2020, 26th Jan 2020 and 3rd April 2020 that imposed restrictions on the speed of the Internet connectivity.
The Foundation of Media Professionals, also filed an application in SC to bring on record the evidence of the hardships faced due to restriction on speed of internet in Jammu and Kashmir, in the PIL filed by it seeking restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir.
Senior Counsel Huzefa Ahmadi in arguments stated that in view of the lockdown, it is extremely necessary to enhance technology and connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir. The virtual classes of students can only be done through enhancement of technology. “This app we are currently using also requires 4G, everything requires 4G such as Zoom or Video streaming,” he said.
The Court directed Centre to submit a report.
-India Legal Bureau