Panel set up on restoration of 4G service: Centre, J&K tell SC


Panel set up on restoration of 4G service: Centre, J&K tell SC

The Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration told the Supreme Court today that a spe-cial committee has been set up as per the court’s directive onthe issue of restoration of 4Ginternet services in the UnionTerritory.

Attorney General K KVenugopal, while claiming that incidents of terrorism are on the risethere, told a bench headed by JusticeN V Ramana that no contempt is made out against the authorities asthey have complied with the direc-tive of the Apex Court.

On May 11, the top court had ordered setting up of a “special committee” headed by the UnionHome Secretary to consider pleas for restoration of 4G internet serv-ices in J-K, saying national securi-ty and human rights need to be bal-anced in view of the fact that the UT has been “plagued with mili-tancy”.High speed internet in J-K hasbeen suspended since August last year when the Centre had announced revocation of its spe-cial status and bifurcation of thestate into two UTs — Ladakh andJammu and Kashmir.During the hearing today, thebench, also comprising Justices RS Reddy and B R Gavai, asked the Centre and the J-K administration to file affidavits within a weekdetailing the setting up of commit-tee and also decisions taken by itin reviewing the orders restricting4G internet services there.

The Apex Court was hearing aplea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the UnionHome Secretary and Chief  Secretary of J-K for their alleged”wilful disobedience” in complying with the court’s May 11 order.Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the peti-tioner, claimed that the orderwas not been complied with and the authorities were not responding to the representations filed against suspension of4G internet services.

He said since orders passed bythe authorities are not being pub-lished, nobody can challenge thembefore the court.To this, the bench observed theorders passed by the committeeshould be put in public domain.Venugopal, appearing for theCentre, said that orders suspending4G internet services have beenpassed after due application of mind.Solicitor General TusharMehta, appearing for the J-Kadministration, also told the benchthat the special committee hasalready been set up.Ahmadi told the Apex Courtthat absence of 4G internet speedhas affected the people there,including in online classes for stu-dents, medical facilities, e-com-merce and online shopping.Referring to earlier statementof the Union Home Minister,Ahmadi argued he had said thatterrorism is at the lowest since1990 in Kashmir.

The contempt plea, filed byFoundation for MediaProfessionals, has alleged that theconcerned authorities have not yet constituted the special committeein line with the top court’s order.”It is respectfully submitted thatsuch a lax attitude, especially duringa health pandemic (COVID-19) andhumanitarian crisis, violates boththe letter and the spirit of this court’s judgment….

And amounts to wilfuldisobedience of this court’s judg-ment and order, which had takenjudicial notice of the concerns relat-ing to the ongoing pandemic and thehardships that may be faced by thepeople of Jammu & Kashmir,” theplea has claimed.It has alleged that authoritieswere duty bound to implement thecourt’s direction but they have failed to notify and facilitate the function-ing of the special committee.

“The directions of this courthave been summarily ignoredand the Respondents have wil-fully disobeyed their duty toimplement this court’s direc-tions, which they were bound toand had undertaken to imple-ment, and therefore must beheld in contempt of this court,”the plea claimed.It has also urged the ApexCourt to summon the Union HomeSecretary and Chief Secretary ofUT of Jammu and Kashmir toexplain their position with respectto the alleged non-compliance ofthe court’s directions.It said that Jammu andKashmir administration had onMay 27 passed an order continu-ing the restriction on mobile inter-net speeds to 2G in all districtsthroughout the UT without anyrestriction by time or region.

It said the petitioner had sent arepresentation to the special com-mittee regarding the May 27 orderbut they have not yet received anyacknowledgment of its receipt.Besides the contempt plea, thepetitioner has also filed an applica-tion seeking directions to theauthorities to notify the constitu-tion of the special committee with-in three working days.

The application has sought aninterim direction to the authority torestore 4G mobile internet servicesin Jammu and Kashmir, pendingdisposal of the plea and also thedecision by the special committee.The court had earlier takennote of the submissions of the Centre that continuous infiltration,foreign influence, violent extrem-ism and issues of national integrityare prevalent in J-K.The Apex Court’s May 11order had come on the pleas filedby Foundation for MediaProfessionals and others seekingrestoration of 4G services in theUT. (PTI)

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