New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said that any order that has been passed to restrict or suspend internet services in Jammu and Kashmir will be subject to judicial scrutiny and that the suspension of the internet should be reviewed. “Such suspension can only be for a limited time period and is subject to judicial review,” it added. The court was delivering its verdict on a batch of pleas including that of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad challenging the restrictions imposed in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir following the scrapping of provisions of Article 370.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai pronounced the judgment. They had reserved the judgment on November 27 last year.
On November 21, the Center had justified restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the provisions of Article 370 were removed and said that due to the preventive steps taken, neither a single life was lost nor a single bullet fired.
Provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of J&K, were scrapped by the Center on August 5 last year.
- Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CRPC cannot be imposed to crackdown dissent.
- Freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution includes Right to Internet.
- The restrictions on internet have to follow the principles of proportionality under Article 19(2).
- Suspension of internet for indefinite period not permissible.
- It can only be for a reasonable duration and periodic review should be done.
- Government should publish all orders of prohibition.
- While passing orders under Section 144 CRPC, the magistrate has to balance interests of individual rights and concerns of state.