SC seeks Centre’s response on restoring 4G services in J&K

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New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration to file a detailed response on a plea seeking restoration of 4G services in the region, after the Attorney General told the court that militancy still poses a serious threat in the region.

A bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana asked the J&k administration and the Centre to file an affidavit on a plea filed by an NGO (Foundation for Media Professionals) challenging the order issued by the administration on March 26 restricting internet speed in mobile data to 2G.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal informed the apex court that militancy still poses a serious threat to peace in the region and cited the recent killing of a militant whose funeral was attended by nearly 500 people during the nationwide lockdown. The top court asked the J&K administration to file a detailed affidavit on problems it faced in providing 4G internet services in the Valley.

The plea contended in the backdrop of the ongoing lockdown that it is very necessary to provide connectivity in the region, and cited virtual classes of students that can only be carried out through high speed internet connectivity. The petitioners contended 4G internet speed will be useful in seamless connectivity, as patients, doctors and general public were unable to access latest information, guidelines, advisories and restrictions about COVD-19.

The petitioners also informed the top court that Lakhs of students are unable to get actively involved in the online classes, due to poor internet connectivity. The matter is scheduled for further hearing next week.

The plea filed through advocate Shadan Farasat termed 2G services as outdated and sought restoration of 4G internet services and alleged that the action of the administration violated Article 14 (right to equality), Article 19 (freedom of speech) and Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution. The plea said that in the middle of the pandemic, where a nationwide lockdown is in place, the restriction of mobile internet speed to 2G is completely unreasonable, illegal, and unconstitutional.

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