New Delhi: The Central government today informed the Supreme Court that high speed 4G internet services can be allowed in one district each of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on a trial basis from August 15.
The bench, comprising Justices N.V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai, was hearing a contempt petition filed by Foundation of Media Professionals, seeking immediate restoration of 4G internet services in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
The contempt petition has been filed to bring the court’s attention to the wilful failure of government officials in complying with the directions of the Supreme Court despite 29 days having elapsed since the judgement was delivered, on May 11.
Attorney General KK Venugopal today submitted that the special committee held a third meeting on August 10 and consulted with local agencies in J&K. Various options have been devised keeping in mind security in this border area. The committee is of the view that the threat perception in J&K continues to be high.
He further submitted that internet restrictions are not posing any hindrance to COVID care, education or business. Given the current security scenario, the situation is not yet conducive to restore high speed internet access to mobile phones.
The AG, however, submitted that carefully calibrated easing of internet restrictions subject to strict monitoring in certain areas could be done on a trial basis in selected areas.
He however clarified that no 4G services will be restored in any area adjoining international border/LoC.
The bench thereafter said that “it is a good stand,” while commending the centre’s decision, hoping situations will improve and the access can then be expanded.
Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the order in review is not in public domain. “Whatever review was done or will be done, must be in the public domain,” he added.
The AG denied this statement of Ahmadi that the original order was not in public domain, at which Ahmadi added that the order on review is not on the website, hence not in public domain. He also said that the review has to take place in each 5 days which is not happening. The Centre should publish the order, he said.
On July 28, the bench had asked the Centre to verify if Jammu and Kashmir’s administration has sent any communication to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for restoring 4G mobile internet services in the region.
Read the Order here;12419-2020-32-301-23382-Order-11-Aug-2020
-India Legal Bureau