NEW DELHI :
The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a response in a week from the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea demanding restoration of 4G connectivity in the Union territory amid the rising cases of covid-19.
The petition was heard by an apex court bench comprising Justices N.V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai.
The public interest litigation filed by the Foundation for Media Professionals challenged the government order of 26 March restricting internet speed to 2G in the Union territory, on the grounds that such an order violates provisions of equality before law, freedom of speech and expression, right to life and liberty, and right of children to free and compulsory education, granted under Articles 14, 19, 21, and 21A of the Constitution.
Restricting internet speed is unreasonable, especially when there is a global pandemic and a nationwide lockdown imposed by the Indian government, contended the petitioner.
Doctors and patients in the region are unable to access the latest information, advisories, and guidelines because of the restricted access to the internet, the petitioner claimed in the plea.
Schools are also unable to impart education online, the petition added.
People are facing difficulty in working from home and also in accessing the high court, it said.
The petition also submitted that the government itself has recognized that internet is an essential service and that restricting it at such a crucial time is affecting the lives of the residents of the Union territory.
In August last year, all modes of communications were suspended when the government scrapped the special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. These were later partially and gradually restored, but internet was restricted to 2G speed.