SC Says Govt Wrong to Shut Down Internet in J&K


After the Indian government revoked Article 370 and turned J&K into a Union Territory, there has been a complete communication and internet shutdown in J&K. This was by the order of the Central Government. The internet shutdown was necessary for the safety and protection of J&K. On 27th December 2019, the internet was restored in Ladakh, but in J&K the internet is still down. Editor of Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad filed a petition in the Supreme Court. In their petition they said that the Central Government was very wrong to shut down the internet in J&K for so long. They have said that the government is violating people’s human rights. On 10th January 2020, the SC gave its final verdict regarding these petitions. The decision was given by three SC judges. They said the central government is very wrong. They must declare the duration for the internet shutdown. Instead the government has shutdown the internet for an indefinite period which is creating confusions. The law grants us the Freedom of Speech. Which means everyone has the right to the communication and internet. Shutting it down is against it. As per Indian law, internet can be shutdown. However only in cases of extreme danger, rioting and violence. In case of protests, the government must keep a watch and try all possible alternatives. In extreme cases they can shut down the internet. They can’t just amend laws and then shut down the internet. The Supreme Court spoke about Liberty and Security. They said that usually a lot of liberty leads to security issues. However security can lead to detention. These two are always are loggerheads. But it is the Court’s job to make sure that the citizens are provided liberty and security. This is why the SC has ordered the Central Government to start the internet in J&K within one week. Section 144 is a law that states if more than 4 people gather in an area, they will be jailed or fined. Section 144 can be used to make arrests if there is a possibility of violence and danger to public safety. However this law has been used to stop people from protesting and voicing their opinion regarded the government’s amended laws. The government imposes section 144, shuts-down the internet, thereby not allowing people to protest. This is very wrong of the government. The SC has said that Sec 144 cannot be used to controls people freedom of speech. It must only be used in extreme cases of violence and rioting.

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