4G Ban in J&K : SC gives government a week’s time to reply to plea for contempt proceedings

Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court with respect to the ban on 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir. The petitioners intend to initiate contempt proceedings against the authorities.

The origins of the case at hand goes back to the time Article 370 was abrogated and consequently the Central Government had imposed an internet ban in the state in August 2019. This was reversed when the Apex Court had allowed for the use of 2G in the state but only for selected sites. Cross Border Terrorism has been cited as a reason for the ban. On May 11, the Supreme Court had directed the constitution of a review committee to decide upon the 4G ban. 

The petition was heard by a 3 judge bench of  Justice N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai. It has been contended by the petitions that no information on the committee has been put in public domain, resulting in contempt of the court’s order. This has caused great suffering to the domiciles by violating their rights guaranteed under Article 21. 
Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta responding for the government had stated that a review committee had already been formed and discussions had begun. Thus, contempt cannot be shown. The government has also stated that the ban is not violating any guidelines relating to disaster management nor is it hindering in the dissemination of online education or ecommerce.

Instead of issuing a notice, the bench has decided to give the Government a week’s time to file a counter reply. It was also opined that a special committee be appointed for the review concerning the gravity of the issue. Only after the review of a committee, further action can be taken on the order.

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