CAA stir: Mobile internet back in Assam after 9 days

Assam government restored mobile internet services around 10 am on Friday, hours after Gauhati High court issued an order to do so while acting on four PILs. (PTI photo)

Mobile internet was restored after nine days in Assam, a day after a landmark judgment of Gauhati High Court, which observed that mobile internet now plays a major role in daily walks of life. 

"With the advancement of science and technology, mobile internet services now plays a major role in the daily walks of life, so much so, shut-down of the mobile internet service virtually amounts to bringing life to a grinding halt. This is not to say that shut-down or suspension of service has to be viewed as an anathema. In given and specific situations, law permits suspension. But, would it be allowed to continue when the present situation does not justify its continuance; when the situation that prevailed on the date of issuance of the initial notification is not shown to subsist as on date," a bench of the high court said while ordering Assam home department to lift the restriction by 5 pm on Thursday.

The order, which according to lawyers was first such court order in India to lift the ban on the mobile Internet came at a time the government restricted the use of internet in six different cities to "tackle" the public protest against the amended citizenship law. A petition seeking the removal of the restriction on Internet use in Jammu and Kashmir is pending in the Supreme Court.

Gauhati High Court issued the order while acting on four PILs seeking its intervention to lift the restriction. 

On Friday the High Court dismissed a review petition moved by the BJP-led government in Assam. 

The state government on December 11 evening imposed a complete restriction on mobile internet, following violent protests against the law. Four protesters died in police firing while two others died in violent protest.

"Indeed, mobile internet services have its uses and misuses. Incidents of violence and vandalism that prevailed on the date of promulgation of the initial notification, with apprehensions of misuse of the services that would stoke violent activities affecting public safety, indeed, justify the initial action of promulgation. But now no material is placed to show that there is no palpable shift of the situation and things have remained constant," the High Court said.

According to a report, India tops the list of countries imposing a restriction on internet use followed by Pakistan, Iraq and Syria. 

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