In response to a contempt petition for not constituting a special committee as directed by a Supreme Court to review internet restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the top Court that the committee has decided against the restoration of 4G internet connectivity in the valley for the present.
The special committee decided that “based on consideration and wide-ranging assessment of the prevalent situation in this sensitive region … no further relaxation on internet services including 4G services could be carried out at the present.” The committee will meet again after two months to review the situation, it is further informed.
The MHA’s affidavit was filed in response to the contempt petition by the Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP) over the non-constitution of a special committee to review the ban on 4G speed internet in Jammu and Kashmir.
On July 16, the Justice Ramana led bench had sought the response of the Centre on the contempt plea even as Attorney General KK Venugopal insisted that there was no contempt.
The MHA states that four days after the May 11 verdict, the committee was constituted on May 15. This committee met again on June 10, it is stated, after it obtained all relevant materials needed to arrive at a decision.
Restrictions on 4G internet services available in J&K were put in place from August 5 in the wake of the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
After the Supreme Court verdict of May 11, the J&K administration had extended the 4G internet curbs thrice – on May 27, June 17 and July 8 – citing the threat of cross-border terrorism.
The administration also claimed that 2G internet speed has not caused any impediment to COVID-19 management, online education or e-commerce.