Internet curbs in Jammu and Kashmir: SC seeks Centre's affidavit within a week

July 16, 2020: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Centre on a petition filed by a body of media professionals. The petition accuses Centre of contempt for not conducting periodic

DY365
DY365

July 16, 2020: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Centre on a petition filed by a body of media professionals. The petition accuses Centre of contempt for not conducting periodic review of its orders suspending internet services in Jammu and Kashmir.

The apex court has given the Centre a week’s time to file its response.

The petitioner, NGO Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP), claimed that no action has been taken by the Centre to comply with the Supreme Court’s order on the issue on May 11. It then urged the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the Centre.

The court had asked for a special committee to be formed on restoring mobile internet services in Jammu and Kashmir in its previous order.

Attorney General KK Venugopal denied there was any contempt on the Centre’s part. He told a three-judge bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana, that the special committee headed by Secretary, ministry of home affairs, is already in place as per the Supreme Court’s order.

Venugopal further pointed out that since May, the committee met twice and asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to find out if relaxation is possible in restrictions in telecom services.

He also agreed to file a response within one week.

The Supreme Court had said in its May 11 order that indefinite suspension of internet is not permissible and that these curbs will have to follow principles of proportionality.

The Attorney General said that the situation is startling in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of increasing terrorist attacks. He agreed to place the minutes before the top court in a sealed cover.

The petitioner had first approached the top court in April, challenging Jammu and Kashmir administration’s March 26 order restricting internet speed. It had urged the court to order restoration of 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir. The FMP had further said that suspension of services had severely impeded normal life of people in the union territory.

The FMP had argued that communication shutdown makes it impossible for journalists to perform their duties.

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