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'Poor Connectivity': J&K HC Adjourns Habeas Plea Due To Difficulty In Video Conferencing

Sanya Talwar
5 May 2020 4:02 PM GMT
Poor Connectivity: J&K HC Adjourns Habeas Plea Due To Difficulty In Video Conferencing
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Due to poor connectivity, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court was constrained to adjourn the hearing of a habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Mian Abdul Qayoom, the President of J&K Bar Association.

The Court expressed "difficulty" while hearing a matter via Video Conferencing on account on "poor connectivity".

"we, while sitting at two different places through Video Conferencing, faced great difficulty in the process of hearing the matter via Video Conferencing. Despite that being the position, we were continuing to hear the parties, but Mr B. A. Dar, learned Senior Additional Advocate General, got disconnected on account of poor connectivity" - Order stated.

A bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey & Vinod Chatterji Koul  was hearing the Letters Patent Appeal against the February 7 order of the single bench, by the habeas plea was dismissed.

Mr. B.A. Dar, Senior AAG (appearing on behalf of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir) expressed difficulty in attending the hearing due to "non-availability of a proper Videoconferencing Facility"

"The Court is conscious of the difficulty expressed by Mr. Dar as also the difficulty we are faced with on account of non-availability of proper Video Conferencing facility to the learned counsel for the parties, but at the same time the court is hard pressed to hear this case" – J&K High Court

On account of the above, hearing was adjourned to May 18, 2020, i.e after the lockdown,  and it was directed that the Registry must put in place proper arrangements to effectuate Video Conference Hearings.

Mian Abdul Qayoom has been under detention since August 5, when the Central Government took measures to abrogate the special status of J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

On Monday, the Supreme Court reserved its orders in pleas seeking restoration of 4G internet speed connectivity in Jammu & Kashmir.

The Government of Jammu & Kashmir had argued against restoration of 4G in the UT citing issues of ongoing militancy and possibility of a 4G connection being misused for propagating "modern terrorism".

The Government had also told the apex court that lack of 4G speed had not affected normal life in the region.

The Central government had imposed a complete communications blackout in the erstwhile state of J&K in August 2019, right after abrogation of Article 370. Five months later in January 2020, following the Supreme Court order in the Anuradha Bhasin case, the services were partially restored, only at 2G speed for mobile users. Access was provided only to a selected "white-listed" sites, and social media was completely blocked.

The Supreme Court had observed that indefinite suspension of internet is not permissible and restrictions on internet have to follow the principles of proportionality under Article 19(2).

The blockade on social media was lifted on March 4, but the speed was retained as 2G for mobile data.

After that, the J&K Administration passed several orders from time to time, retaining the speed restrictions. As per the latest order passed on April 27, the restrictions have been extended till May 11.

The administration stated that the speed restrictions have not affected COVID-19 control measures and online education


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