Right To Access Internet : Kerala HC's Guiding Light To SC
The Kerala High Court judgement can be a dim guiding light for the Supreme Court and aid it to pave its way back to its days of K.S. Puttuswamy and, to its primary duty of being the guardian of the people.
In Kashmir, for the last 47 days, 1.25 crore people have been deprived of their Right to Information encompassed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, and the pin-drop silence in the halls of the Supreme Court is virtually its acquiescence of the abrogation of this Fundamental Right. The communication lockdown; a complete divorce from the "outside world"; lack of access to the internet; these are all impositions by the State that are tearing down the walls of our Fundamental Rights, whilst the Supreme Court watches its disintegration as a bystander.
'Right To Access Internet Is Part Of Right To Privacy And Right To Education' : Kerala HC [Read Judgment]
The "Right to Know" was first elaborated in the case of Reliance Petrochemicals Ltd. v. Proprietors of Indian Express Newspapers, Bombay Pvt. Ltd. (1988). This case enshrined the fact that in order for a democracy to function effectively, its people had the right to know and obtain information regarding the conduct of the State. In S. Rengarajan & Ors v. P. Jagjivan Ram (1989), it was held that freedom of expression cannot be suppressed on account of threat of demonstration and processions or threats of violence which would tantamount to negation of the rule of law and the surrender to blackmail and intimidation. In Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting v. Cricket Association of Bengal (1995), it was held that it was the fundamental right of every citizen to impart as well as receive information through "electronic media", which could very well be extended to the "internet".
(Author is a lawyer practicing at Delhi)
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