The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and the Jammu & Kashmir administration on a plea for the restoration of Internet services in the Union Territory as continued restrictions have affected online education.
A bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and B. Nagarathna posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.
Private Schools Association, J&K, said it was constrained to file the plea seeking restoration of 4G services as the authorities, in the name of curbing anti-national activities, had either shut down Internet or reduced the speed to 2G despite the Covid-19 pandemic necessitating a shift to the online mode of education, “resulting in digital apartheid in access to education”.
According to the petitioner, prolonged use of the extraordinary power to disrupt Internet services for the entire population of a region was in violation of the apex court judgment in Anuradha Bhasin vs Union of India in 2020 where it was categorically held that Internet suspensions were permissible for limited periods only and the State could not indefinitely suspend services.
The petitioner submitted that despite the apex court’s ruling, there had been frequent disruptions and withdrawal of Internet services since December 11, 2020.
This year alone, four separate orders to restrict Internet were issued by the J&K home department on June 10, June 11, September 10 and October 3, the petition said.