Supreme Court to deliver verdict today in Jammu and Kashmir 4G mobile Internet case

Petitions have argued that 4G speed is essential for healthcare, education during pandemic

May 11, 2020 01:50 am | Updated 03:00 am IST - NEW DELHI

File image.

File image.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Monday its verdict on petitions seeking restoration of 4G mobile Internet in Jammu and Kashmir amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

Aslo read: CISCO Denies Building Firewall to Restrict Internet in J&K

The petitions have argued that 4G speed was essential for healthcare, education and trade/business in the Union Territory during the pandemic.

A Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana had recently reserved its judgment in the case. The court had agreed that 4G was faster than 2G Internet though a balance would have to be struck between healthcare in the time of the pandemic and national security concerns in Jammu and Kashmir.

On the last day of the hearing in the case, the petitioners led by Forum of Media Professionals, represented by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi and advocate Shadan Farasat, had even argued that the ‘Aarogya Setu’ App, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had encouraged the public to download to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, could not be downloaded in J&K on 2G speed.

The petitioners had countered the official narrative in court that 4G speed facilitated terrorism, saying “there is no rational relation between the legitimate State goal [curbing terrorism] and the method used [restricting access to the Internet]”. Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal had referred to the encounter in northern Kashmir’s Handwara which killed several Army personnel.

Mr. Ahmadi had argued that access to information through the Internet was protected free speech under the Constitution. The burden would be on the government to establish that curtailing access to the Internet bears a rational relationship with its goal to curb terror.

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