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SC Directs Setting Up Of High Powered Committee To Look Into Restoration Of 4G Internet In J-K
Internet services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir in August last year after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
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The Supreme Court on Monday directed immediate setting up of a high powered committee, to be headed by the MHA Secretary, to look into the contentions raised by various petitioners for the restoration of 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir.
A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana said that the court has to ensure that national security and human rights are balanced and added that we do recognise that the Union Territory has plunged into crisis. At the same time court is cognizant to the concerns related to ongoing pandemic and hardships, Justice Ramana said.
The apex court ordered to constitute a committee of secretaries from the Centre and the Union Territory, headed by the MHA Secretary and also comprising the Secretary of Ministry of Communication and Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir to look into the matter.
The court was hearing various pleas for restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir claiming that the 2G internet services are not sufficient enough to conduct education and other services amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
The top court had on May 4, 2020, reserved its order, after hearing the arguments from all the respective parties including, the petitioners, the Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
It had heard many petitions including that of Freedom for Media Professionals (FMP), Shoaiyb Qureshi, Private Schools Associations Jammu and Kashmir, which had challenged the present 2G internet connectivity and claimed that it was not sufficient for the Valley.
During the hearing, Attorney General Venugopal had told the apex court that the orders that have been passed had specifically stated that restrictions of internet speed are required for national security.
Venugopal had said that it is about the protection of the lives of the entirety of the population of Jammu and Kashmir and not just the COVID-19 patients.
The AG had said that the petitions have to be examined against the larger public interest of national security, adding that national security is paramount and those tasked with protecting it must be the sole judges in the matter.
Notably, internet services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir in August last year after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
While the 2G services on postpaid mobile phones and broadband have been restored, 4G services still remain suspended.