Supreme Court on Monday (May 11) refused to restore 4G internet in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir but ordered the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration to form a committee of Secretaries from MHA and J&K UT Admin to take a call after reviewing the ground security situation. The apex court also said that the high-powered Committeeheaded by the MHA Secretary should also look into the contentions raised by various petitioners.
"This court has to ensure that national security and human rights are balanced. We do recognize that UT has plunged into crisis. At the same time court is cognizant to the concerns related to ongoing pandemic and hardships," said Justice NV Ramana.
“Special Committee is directed to examine the contentions made by Petitioners, as well as the appropriateness of their contentions and the alternative remedy,” said the SC bench and disposed off the plea.
On april 29, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had told the SC that right to access internet is not a fundamental right and the state has got authority to curb the freedom of speech and the right to trade through internet.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration made the claim while opposing restoration of 4G services in the union territory. During the hearing, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had informed the top court that the internet speed has been reduced in the Union Territory to protect the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
"It is submitted that the right to access internet is not a fundamental right and thus the type and breadth of access for exercising the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) and/or to carry on any trade or business under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India through the medium of internet can be curtailed," an affidavit filed by the Jammu and Kashmir administration said.