The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court it is open to lifting restrictions on high-speed 4G mobile internet services on a trial basis in select areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
Attorney General KK Venugopal said the 4G ban will be lifted in one district each in Jammu and Kashmir divisions after August 15.
AG Venugopal said that the threat perception in the border regions still remained high and that the monitoring committee would assess the impact of the relaxation of restrictions on internet speed in one district of Jammu & Kashmir at a time.
“The special committee held a meeting on August 10 and after considering the situation prevalent and security of nation, it was of the view that threat perception on security continues to be high. The committee was of view that broadband access is available through landline for educational institutions and hospitals…the special committee was of view that high speed can be relaxed in areas with less violence.”
On August 7, the Bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy, and BR Gavai, while hearing a contempt petition against the Jammu & Kashmir administration, had sought to know from Solicitor General Tushar Mehta if high speed internet service can be restored in any part of Jammu & Kashmir.
In its last hearing, the top court had said that the Centre should explore the possibility of restoring 4G ban of mobile internet services in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the statements of GC Murmu, the former lieutenant governor of the Union territory, backing the restoration.
“L-G Murmu has said that there is no difficulty in restoring 4G. You have to give an explanation to that,” justice R Subhash Reddy told solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Jammu & Kashmir administration, last Friday.
The petitioner, Foundation for Media Professionals, has alleged contempt of the Apex Court’s May 11 order, claiming that the Centre has not reviewed the 4G ban as no order has been placed in the public domain.
The Centre had filed an affidavit in July claiming that it was not possible to restore 4G banned services at present.