SC to pronounce order on petitions seeking restoration of 4G internet services in J-K

New Delhi [India], May 10 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday will pronounce the order on a number of petitions seeking restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir claiming that the 2G service presently available in the Union Territory is not sufficient for education and business purposes amid the ongoing coronavirus-induced lockdown.

A three-judge Bench of the apex court, headed by Justice NV Ramana, and also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy, and BR Gavai, will pronounce the order tomorrow.

The apex court had on May 4, 2020, reserved its order, after hearing the complete arguments from the respective parties, the petitioners and from the Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal and Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, for the Centre.

It had heard many petitions including that of Freedom for Media Professionals (FMP), Shoaiyb Qureshi, Private Schools Associations Jammu and Kashmir, which had challenged the present 2G internet connectivity and claimed that it was not sufficient for the Valley.

During the hearing, Attorney General Venugopal had told the apex court that the orders that have been passed had specifically stated that restrictions of internet speed are required for national security.

Venugopal had said that it is about the protection of the lives of the entirety of the population of Jammu and Kashmir and not just the COVID-19 patients.

The AG had said that the petitions have to be examined against the larger public interest of national security, adding that national security is paramount and those tasked with protecting it must be the sole judges in the matter.

"The matters of policy decision cannot be interfered with by the court. It must be left to the government," Venugopal had submitted to the court.

Lawyer Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for one of the petitioners, had told the apex court that the COVID-19 situation in the Valley has worsened and added that problems are being faced by doctors who cannot access necessary information about coronavirus treatment due to the internet speed.

Senior lawyer Salman Khurshid, appearing for another petitioner in the matter, said that private schools are under the government's directions to provide education via video-conferencing.

"We have an obligation under the Right to Education to provide education. The 2G internet connectivity is not sufficient for that," Khurshid said.

Notably, internet services were suspended in J-K in August last year after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. While the 2G services on postpaid mobile phones and broadband have been restored, 4G services still remain suspended. (ANI)