Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP) had filed a PIL before the Supreme Court seeking restoration of 4G internet services in UT of Jammu & Kashmir in light of the COVID-19. FMP is a registered society working towards protection of journalists and advancement of the freedom of the press.
On 01 April 2020, FMP filed a PIL before the Supreme Court of India seeking restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu & Kashmir during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Petition claims that the Order of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir – Order No. Home-21(TSTS) of 2020, which, inter alia, restricts internet speed in mobile data services to 2G only in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir is violative of Articles 14, 19, 21, and 21A of the Constitution of India.
Petitioner is being represented by Senior Counsel Hufeza Ahmadi.
Writ Petition (Civil) Diary No.10817/2020 Foundation For Media Professionals Petitioner v. Union Territory Of Jammu And Kashmir & Anr.
Foundation For Media Professionals
1. Union Territory Of Jammu And Kashmir 2. Union of India (MHA)
Two petitions came to be filed, subsequently. WP (C) No. [Diary No. 10904] of 2020, Private Schools Association J&K v. UT of J&K & Ors., was argued by Salman Khurshid. The other petition, WP (C) No. [Dinary No. 10875] of 2020, Soyaib Qureshi v. UT of J&K & Ors. was argued by the petitioner, in-person.
The right to access the internet is not a fundamental right and thus the type and breadth of access for exercising the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) and/or to carry on any trade or business under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India (CoI) through the medium of internet can be curtailed.
On 11 May 2020, Supreme Court pronounced its order in the case. The court declined the prayer for the restoration of 4G internet services in the Union Territory. It passed directions for the constitution of a “special committee”. The Court ordered:
The Special Committee is directed 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 and advise the Respondent No. 1 regarding the same, in terms of our earlier directions.
This committee will comprise the following:
The Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (Home Secretary), Government of India.
The Secretary, Department of Communications, Ministry of Communications, Government of India.
The Chief Secretary, Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir