Senior Advocate Lal Bahadur Khowal has filed a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the notification issued by the Haryana government on January 29 and 30 shutting down Internet services in parts of the state. At the same time, he has also urged the High Court to bring internet service under the purview of fundamental rights. The petition was filed on Tuesday, which has been registered on Wednesday.
Khowal alleged a loss of digital business and commerce due to halt of dongle services by Haryana government. He said that in today’s society, education, business and government services are Internet dependent. Apart from this, school and colleges have not been fully opened yet. Children’s education is also being conducted through online mode.
Video conferences are also being heard in the courts, but due to the government shutting down the Internet, it has become difficult for the common man to go to court. On the other hand, internet speed is also low and the government has not given any information about it , the petition stated.
Khowal said the Union Home Ministry had issued an order on March 24, 2020, in which internet service was considered an essential item. The Haryana government did not pay attention to this issue while issuing the letter.
The petitioner claimed that according to the rule in Section 7 of the Telegraph Act, orders are to be issued by the Home Secretary with application of mind, whereas the letter issued by the Government of Haryana is issued by the Additional Chief Secretary instead of the Home Secretary. This letter has been issued on the basis of law and order, whereas in Article 19 of the Constitution, such orders can be issued only on the basis of public order.
Citing the Supreme Court decision of January 10, 2020 in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, Khowal demanded that Internet service be declared a fundamental right under the purview of constitutional protection.