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SC orders to set up high-powered committee headed by Secretary of MHA to restore 4G internet services in J&K

SC orders setting up of high-powered committeeOn May 11, 2020 Supreme Court(SC) orders to set up a high-powered committee to look into the demands by petitioners who seek restoration of 4G internet services in the Union Territory(UT) Jammu and Kashmir(J&K). It is headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA), AJAY KUMAR BHALLA.

Major highlights

i.A bench comprises:  Justices N V Ramana, Justices R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai the Chief Secretary of the UT and the Secretary of Ministry of Communications

ii.The plea was filed by Foundation for Media Professionals, Soayib Qureshi and Private Schools Association of J&K.

Background

i.A plea was filed by ‘Foundation for Media Professionals’ to restore the high-speed internet in J&K in view of the COVID-19 situation but the J&K administration dismissed the plea, insisting that high-speed internet will enable the spread of fake news/rumours and transfer of heavy data files (audio/video files) & may be utilised by terror outfits to pursue  in planning attacks.

ii.In the earlier hearing, senior Advocate H Ahmadi, appearing for Foundation for Media Professionals, said non-availability of 4G services is affecting people’s right to health and education.

iii.The SC in its judgment(January 10, 2020) stated that freedom of speech and expression, and the freedom of trade and commerce through the internet are fundamental right under the Constitution and as such cannot be cut down without following the mandate of the Constitution and should meet the test of proportionality.

About J&K:
Capital– Srinagar (summer), Jammu (winter).
Lieutenant Governor(LG)– Girish Chandra Murmu.