The SC ordered setting up of a high-powered committee headed by MHA Secretary to consider pleas seeking the restoration of 4G internet speed.

An angled view of the Supreme Court building in New Delhi
news J&K Monday, May 11, 2020 - 13:41

The Supreme Court Monday refrained from passing any orders on the restoration of 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir but ordered setting up of a high-powered committee headed by MHA Secretary to consider pleas seeking the same.  

A bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Justices R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai said the committee would also include the Chief Secretary of the UT and the secretary of the ministry of communications to look into the demands by petitioners seeking restoration of 4G internet speed there.

Pronouncing the verdict on a batch of pleas filed by Foundation for Media Professionals, Soayib Qureshi and Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir, the bench said it needed to ensure a balance of national security and human rights.

According to LiveLaw, while hearing the pleas, the Supreme Court bench stated that it has to make sure that national security and human rights are balanced. “We do recognize that UT has plunged into crisis. At the same time court is cognizant to the concerns related to ongoing pandemic and hardships,” the court said. 

The court noted its earlier judgement where it said that passed every order for the suspension of internet services need to be placed before a Review Committee which provides for adequate procedural and substantive safeguards to ensure that the imposed restrictions are narrowly tailored.

“However, we are of the view that since the issues involved affect the State, and the nation, the Review Committee which consists of only State-level officers, may not be in a position to satisfactorily address all the issues raised, the court said, directing that a Special Committee be set up look into the prevailing circumstances and “immediately determine the necessity of the continuation of the restrictions in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The Special Committee shall be headed by the Union Home Secretary and the Secretary of the Department of Communications, Ministry of Communications and the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be a part of it.

The Special Committee has been directed by the apex court to “examine the contentions of, and the material placed herein by, the Petitioners as well as the Respondents. The aforesaid Committee must also examine the appropriateness of the alternatives suggested by the Petitioners, regarding limiting the restrictions to those areas where it is necessary and the allowing of faster internet (3G or 4G) on a trial basis over certain geographical areas.”

(With PTI inputs)

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