Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Considering restoration of 4G internet services in J&K on trial basis: Centre tells SC

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The Central government on Tuesday submitted before the Supreme Court that the Committee, set up to review the restoration of 4G internet service, is considering to allow the same in one district each of Jammu and Kashmir on a trial basis.

“The Committee is considering as to whether to allow 4G internet access on a trial basis in one district in Jammu and one in Kashmir or not,” the Centre told a three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana. Attorney General KK Venugopal, a top law officer representing the Union of India (UOI), told the apex court that an additional affidavit was now being filed in the 4G internet restoration matter.

Venugopal said that the special committee convened the third meeting on August 10 and consulted with local agencies in the Union Territory. “Various options considered keeping in mind border security. The committee is of the view that the threat perception in Jammu and Kashmir continues to be high. Internet restrictions are not posing any hindrance to COVID care, education or business,” he said.

The Attorney General said that given the current security scenario, the situation is not yet conducive to restore high-speed internet access to mobile phones. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that these are issues on a day-to-day matter.

Do you have the orders in the public domain? Justice Ramana asked Mehta. Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner, added to the same and said that whatever review was done or will be done must be in the public domain. “The order in review is not in the public domain,” Huzefa said and questioned the way the orders are “not being complied with”.

“Today is a great day, and I thank there is a step forward in restoring the 4G internet connectivity,” Huzefa said expressing happiness over the submission that the Committee is considering restoration of high-speed internet on a trial basis in the two districts.

In the last hearing, the Central government had told the top court that the directions issued by the Supreme Court for the review of restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir are being complied with and that a Committee was set up to review the same.

The apex court was hearing a contempt petition filed by an NGO named Foundation for Media Professionals seeking the restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir and alleged that the top court’s earlier orders are not being complied with by concerned authorities.

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