Foundation For Media ... vs Union Territory Of Jammu And ... on 11 May, 2020


1. Again, this Court is called upon to address a very important but a sensitive issue on national
security and human rights, wherein we have to ensure that national security and human rights can
be reasonably and defensibly balanced, a responsibility, that this Court takes with utmost
2. This Court, vide its earlier judgment dated 10.01.2020 in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India,
(2020) SCC Online SC 25, gave certain directions regarding the imposition of restrictions on the
internet in a proportionate manner. The aforesaid case had, in addition to the procedural rules,
supplemented the requirements of having timely review and the non−permanence of internet
shutdown orders.
3. The three Petitioners before us are aggrieved by the fact that Respondent No. 1 has restricted the
mobile internet speed to 2G and have approached this Court seeking 4G mobile internet, and the
quashing of the impugned orders restricting internet in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
4. Broadly, the argument of the Petitioners is premised on the ground that in the existing COVID−19
situation, when there is a national lockdown, the restrictions imposed on the residents of the entire
Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir impacts their right to health, right to education, right to
business and right to freedom of speech and expression.
5. They submit that access to internet acquires even more importance under the prevailing
circumstances in the country, relating to the pandemic. The Petitioners contended that the
fulfillment of the right to health is dependent on the availability of effective and speedy internet in
order to access medical services and information on containment strategies. The denial of such
critical information not only violates the peoples right to receive information, but is also a denial of
their right to health. Furthermore, the Petitioners contend that restrictions on internet speed
directly impacts the students of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right to education as they are
unable to access to e−learning services such as online video classes, and other online educational
content. This not only impacts their continuing education, but also disadvantages the students of
Jammu and Kashmir who are preparing for national/competitive exams. Petitioner in W.P. (C) D.
No. 10817 of 2020, has appended the affidavits of a journalist who collected testimonies of doctors,
teachers, students, journalists, lawyers and business persons from the Union Territory, and of a
technical expert narrating importance of 4G internet, to support the above submissions.
6. Moreover, the Petitioners have argued that the actions of Respondent No. 1 are violative of the
directions laid down by this Court in Anuradha Bhasin (supra) as well as the Temporary Suspension
of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 [Telecom Suspension Rules] as
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