Supreme Court announces it’s the verdict on Jammu and Kashmir.
The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Centre a week to review all the communication curbs imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
After going through several pleas, the apex court rules that the right to internet access is under the protection of the constitution of India. According to the petition, the restrictions fail to satisfy the reasonableness and proportionality on the liberties of citizens that are under protection Article 19.
The Kashmir Valley region has been under an internet shutdown for 159 days and counting. The longest ever shutdown in not only India but in a democratic country. Although roadblocks, landlines, and cellphone services have been restored, the internet is still under lockdown in the region.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana also asked the J-K administration to restore Internet services. Mostly in institutions providing essential services like hospitals and educational places.
“It is no doubt that freedom of speech is an essential tool in a democratic setup. The freedom of Internet access is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution,” a two-judge bench headed by Justice N V Ramana stated while reading out the judgment.
“Repetitive orders under Section 144 would be an abuse of power. Section 144 is not a tool to prevent the legitimate expression of opinion or grievance of any democratic rights. It will only be applicable in a situation of emergency. And for the purpose of preventing obstruction and annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed,” orders supreme court.
The court said a District Magistrate ordering Section 144 was “duty-bound to balance rights and restrictions based on the principles of proportionality and thereafter, apply the least intrusive measure”.
Congress takes a dig on BJP.
“SC delivers a first big jolt of 2020 to illegal activities of Modi Govt by stating the importance of the internet as a fundamental right. Double shock for Modi-Shah that dissent cannot be oppressed by imposing section 144. Modiji reminded that nation bows before Constitution and not him!” – a tweet from congress leader.
“The SC order is a rebuff to the unconstitutional and arrogant stance of the central government and the J&K administration on the restrictions imposed in J&K.” – P Chidambaram
“We welcome this judgment. This is the first time SC has talked about how people of J&K feel. We welcome this judgment. This is the first time SC has talked about how people of J&K feel.” – Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
“We have to balance liberty and security concerns so that the right to life can be secured in the best possible manner. The pendulum can’t swing in any extreme direction. We are here only to ensure citizens get liberty and security,” said the supreme court.