No Proposal To Make Internet A Fundamental Right, Says Central Govt.

No Proposal To Make Internet A Fundamental Right, Says Central Govt.Protest Against Internet Shutdown (Image Courtesy : CNN)

The Central Government, while answering a query in Lok Sabha, said that there is no proposal to make facility like internet a fundamental right.

Minister of Communications and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad was answering a question by MP Harish Dwivedi.

Replying to another question, the Minister said that as per the worldwide country rankings of internet connectivity speed, India is ranked 74th out of 207 countries in 2019. Quoting a TRAI report, he said that for the period April-June,2019, there were total 665.31 million internet subscribers in the country. He said that BharatNet project is being implemented in a phased manner to provide broadband connectivity to all the Gram Panchayats (approx. 2,50,000) in the country. The Minister also
stated
that the Government has no plans to setup social media monitoring hub for mass surveillance of citizens of the country.

In a landmark judgment, the High Court of Kerala had recently held that right to access internet is a fundamental right forming part of right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court added that it also forms part of right to education. In the petitions filed before the Supreme Court challenging the lock down in Kashmir, one of the contentions adopted was that the Internet shut down in Kashmir region is a grave violation of fundamental right to life. The Apex Court is expected to deliver the judgment on this issue shortly.

In 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council had released a non-binding resolution condemning intentional disruption of internet access by governments.