A rejoinder has been filed in the Supreme Court stating that the Centre is guilty of contempt, as it did not publish details of the Special Committee meeting held to review 4G internet restrictions in Jammu & Kashmir.
Foundation for Media Professionals, the NGO arguing the plea for restoring 4G internet in Jammu & Kashmir, has filed the application in response to the reply filed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The MHA had filed a reply before the Supreme Court countering the claim that the Centre was guilty of contempt, since the Special Committee was constituted as directed in the May 11 verdict of the Apex Court. Through this reply, the Centre stated that the Committee was in favour of continuing the internet restrictions in the valley.
In the rejoinder filed on July 27, the petitioners have contended that the fact that the Committee had met on May 15 and June 10 was not put in the public domain.
It is further mentioned that the Special Committee was constituted to replace the Review Committee as mandated under the Telecom Suspension Rules, 2017. The rejoinder states for 4G Internet,
“The Review Committee provides the “final internal check” over the orders issued by the competent authority since it has to meet within five working days of the order restricting internet services and record its findings regarding compliance with the substantive provisions of Section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act (such as the occurrence of public emergency/or in the interest of public safety).”
The rejoinder states that the Review Committee has to primarily perform three tasks:
a) Ensure compliance with the substantive requirements of Section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act.
b) Meet every seven days of the previous review order to ensure continued compliance with Section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act.
c) Assess whether the orders continuing the restriction on internet services are still proportionate, and the internet restrictions are not being carried out “indefinitely”.
Thus, a lapse of two months between meetings was a violation of the tasks entrusted for the Committee, argues the rejoinder filed through Advocate Shadan Farasat.
Today, it was also pointed out to the Court that Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Girish Chandra Murmu had called for restoring 4G internet connectivity in the valley.