Access to internet fundamental right, says SC

Access to internet fundamental right, says SC

Representative image. (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review all orders of suspension of the internet in the state within a week. 

The apex court also ruled that the right to access the internet is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution. 

"Internet is a major means of information, therefore, Freedom of Speech and Expression through the internet is part of Article 19(1)(A) and restrictions on it should be in accordance with restrictions to this right," the court said.

The apex court has also asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to restore internet services in all institutions providing essential services like hospitals and educational centres.

As per the Supreme Court judgement, the orders of internet shutdown will be placed in the public domain.

While delivering a verdict on petitions on the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, the apex court said that Section 144 of the CrPC (prohibitory orders) cannot be used as a tool to suppress difference of opinion.

Section 144 can't be used to oppress voices of dissent, the Supreme Court said.

The court said that magistrates should apply mind and follow the doctrine of proportionality while passing prohibitory orders. 

The Supreme Court bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai pronounced its judgment on petitions challenging the internet and communication shutdown in Kashmir.

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