Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted before a three judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice NV Ramana, Subhash Reddy and BR Gavi that internet speed in Jammu and Kashmir has been restricted to 2G as militancy is still present in the valley.
AG said: “It is a very serious issue. Militancy is still there. When a militant was killed about 500 people came for the funeral. They are being made into martyrs.”
Justice Ramana Stated that all this should be in an affidavit and the Solicitor General sought one week’s time to form a “consolidated report” detailing why internet restriction was needed.
Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi attempted to explain how the J&K High Court was looking at a gamut of issues and that internet services was only a part of it.
“The plea by ‘Foundation for Media Professionals’ focuses on this particular aspect- on 4G services. High Court matter is on a whole gamut of matters and only one issue is of internet services. For health there is a need for 4G services to consult doctors and not crowd hospitals or any kind of advice for any ailment 4G is necessary,” said Ahmadi.
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“This app we are using for Videoconference in the Supreme Court also needs 4G internet connectivity. Even Zoom app requires 4G for streaming”.
The petition also stated about the PIL of Foundation of Media professionals which said that restricting the speed to 2G violates provisions of equality before law, freedom of speech and expression, right to life and liberty, and right of children to free and compulsory education, granted under Articles 14, 19, 21, and 21A of the Constitution.
Petition added it is very unreasonable to restrict the internet speed as schools are unable to impart online education and an association of more than 2,200 schools across Jammu and Kashmir, challenges the government in another plea regarding orders as being violative of their fundamental right to education, especially since the lockdown for containing COVID-19 has led to home-bound virtual classes.
In another plea, Private School Association J&k, through advocates Soayib Qureshi and Charu Ambwani stated that “internet” is now a “medium of imparting education,” especially after the nationwide lockdown.
Ambwani stated that the education of almost 7 lakh students was at stake.
“Most of the students have tabs or laptops. The hardware is available. The internet connectivity is not there,” said Advocate Ambwani.
The plea detailed on how slow internet speed was proving to be an obstacle for students in Jammu & Kashmir.
Supreme Court has now asked J&K Govt. to file an affidavit by Sunday (April 26) and has indicated that the next hearing is likely to be on April 27