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J&K High Court summons U.T.’s Home Secretary over “poor Internet connectivity”

A view of a closed market during a lockdown imposed by authorities after a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, in Srinagar on July 14, 2020.

A view of a closed market during a lockdown imposed by authorities after a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, in Srinagar on July 14, 2020.   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

Irked by “poor Internet connectivity”, the J&K High Court has directed the Union Territory (UT) Home Secretary, Shaleen Kabra, to appear before the court on Thursday.

“This court is concerned with urgent issues involving rights of the residents of J&K and Ladakh. However, we find today (Tuesday) that despite best efforts on the part of our IT experts, it has been impossible to have even a bare semblance of a hearing,” a Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar, observed while hearing a public interest litigation plea.

The judges further observed that the High Court had struggled to get virtual or audio connectivity with the amicus curiae and the several counsels appearing before them. “Even the Advocate General has expressed grave difficulty in joining the hearing,” the court said.

Due to rising COVID-19 infections in J&K, large parts of Kashmir province are under a lockdown and virtual hearings “have been necessitated”.

“Access to justice is a fundamental right and cannot be impeded. It has to be ensured to every citizen and the courts are required to remain accessible,” the court observed.

The court has asked Mr. Kabra to appear before the court through a video conference and “apprise about the impact of the restrictions on e-connectivity of the courts.”

The J&K administration banned high-speed Internet on August 5, 2019 in J&K. On July 8, an order issued by Mr. Kabra extended the ban till July 29. The order claimed that the ban on the helped neutralize more militants and prevent spread of fake news and rumour-mongering.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 7:43:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jk-high-court-summons-uts-home-secretary-over-poor-internet-connectivity/article32088598.ece

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