State can suspend mobile net services: SC

State can suspend mobile net services: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday held that a state government can suspend mobile internet service in special circumstances, including a threat to law and order, while confirming the Gujarat High Court order, which allowed such a move during the Patel quota agitation.

A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice R Banumathi rejected a contention by advocate Apar Gupta appearing for petitioner Gaurav Sureshbhai Vyas, who claimed that prohibitory orders issued under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code cannot be extended to mobile internet services as there is special Telegraph Act to deal with it.

The bench said there can be concurrent power and sometimes it becomes necessary to impose such a ban due to law and order situation.

The high court had in September 15 dismissed a PIL by Vyas seeking a declaration that ban on the mobile internet services, imposed for about 10 days during the agitation, as unconstitutional.

‘Reasonable restrictions’
It had held that the state can put reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech and it cannot be said that the powers under Section 144 were exercised in arbitrary manner nor it can be said that there was perverse exercise of it without there being any objective material. Similar ban had earlier been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir.

FB shuts down Free Basics in India
Social networking giant Facebook on Thursday shut down its controversial Free Basics programme in India, days after telecom regulator Trai barred operators from charging differential rates for Internet access based on content.

“Free Basics is no longer available to people in India,” a Facebook spokesperson said, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

The service was offered in India in partnership with Reliance Communications and was earlier known as Internet.org. Earlier, the Trai had asked the RCom to put on hold the services till it announced decision on differential pricing.

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