SC Seeks Response From J&K Government To Provide 4G Internet Services

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday requested a response from the Center and the Jammu and Kashmir government to a PIL seeking 4G internet connectivity in the Union Territory, required to teach virtual classes for students.

After the decision of the Union government to remove the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and divide the state into two UTs, mobile and internet services remained suspended for a long period of time. Later, the authorities gradually opened up telecommunications services and provided 2G connectivity for mobile and internet services, citing that telecommunications services could be misused for terrorist activities and militancy.

Introducing himself for the petitioner 'Foundation for Media Professionals', lead lawyer Huzefa Ahmadi told a bank of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, who met at the Janpath residence of Justice Ramana, that it is extremely necessary to improve the connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir during the closing period. After a brief hearing, the bank issued notices to the Union and UT governments and ordered that the notice be sent to the permanent attorney by email.

The petitioners contested the March 26 Interior Ministry order to restrict Internet speed in mobile data services to 2G only, and to provide Internet connectivity with Mac link only, calling it in violation of articles 14, 19, 21 and 21A of the Indian Constitution. He sought restoration of 4G Internet services at J&k,whichhealsosaidfacesthecovid-19challenge.

thepetitionercitedthejanuary10judgmentofjudgeramanaonj&k,whichruledthatfreedomofcommerceandcommerceviatheinternetarefundamentalrightsundertheindianconstitution,andthattherestrictionsimposedbythegovernmentontheuseinternetusershavepassedtheproportionalitytest.asofdecember30,2019,j&khad1.03,20,749wirelesssubscribers(requiredformobileinternet)and1.32,743wiredsubscriberbase(orfixedlineinternetconnectivity).

thepetitionersaidthatintheabsenceofthe4gnetwork,medicalprofessionalshaverepeatedlyexpressedconcernaboutwastingprecioustimetryingtodownloadthelateststudies,protocols,manualsandnoticesregardingthetreatmentandmanagementofcovid19.insomecases,doctorsareunabletoaccesstheseresources,becausetheinternetspeedistooslowtodownloadheavyfiles.

therestrictedspeedoftheinternetisdirectlyaffectingtheabilityofchildreninjammuandkashmirtoexercisetheirfundamentalrighttoeducationasschoolscannotswitchtoonlinemodeofinstruction,asintherestofthecountry.therestrictedspeedoftheinternetalsomakesitimpossibletofollowthegovernment-thework-from-homepolicy,especiallyforcompaniesintheinformationtechnologyanditenabledservicessector),affectingtheirrightsunderarticle19(1)(g)oftheconstitution.

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