On 04 May 2020, the Supreme Court of India reserved its judgment in the petition seeking restoration of 4G internet services in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The arguments were heard by a bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai. Senior counsels Salman Khurshid and Huzefa Ahmadi appeared for the petitioners. Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the Union of India and the Union Territory respectively.
The hearing through video conferencing continued for around two hours. Venugopal said the government’s policy decision should not be questioned as the restriction was meant to protect the entire population of the state and not only patients.
Ahmadi stated that the restrictions were leading to violation of the right to access healthcare which is inherent under Article 21 of the Constitution and that the internet speed restriction was leading to “deprivation of fundamental rights” which needed to be “judged in the light of the pandemic.” He further submitted that the present connectivity is so slow that “even Arogya Setu app cannot be downloaded and operated by people” in the valley.
Attorney General opposed the petitions stating that the government’s policy decision should not be questioned as the restriction was meant to protect the entire population of the state and not only patients.
The bench has reserved its judgment after hearing the parties.
Read order here: