The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday asked the administration of both the UTs of J&K and Ladakh to file a status report on the issue of restoration of 4G internet services in the valley.
The direction was made by a division bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal based on the submissions made by amicus curiae Monika Kholi that on account of non-availability of 4G services in the valley, the students in the Union Territories are unable to access the educational courses being sent by institutions in order to enable the students to cope with the classes which they are missing amid the lockdown.
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, on the basis of a Supreme Court order in the case Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India which found Internet shutdown illegal, the services were partially restored, only at 2G speed for mobile users.
Vehemently opposing the same, the amicus curiae argued that the students in both the UTs were being put at a disadvantageous position as due to the low speed internet, they have not been able to download the study material.
Additional Solicitor General Vishal Sharma on the other hand informed the court that the issue was already under consideration before the Supreme Court in a PIL filed by the Foundation for Media Professionals, notices whereon had been issued earlier this week.
A bench comprising Justices N.V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy & B.R. Gavai had issued notice to the standing counsel of Jammu & Kashmir via email on Thursday, returnable within a week.
Nevertheless, the division bench also comprising of Justice Rajnesh Oswal ordered,
"Let a status report on this issue be placed by the Secretary, Home Department of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh."
The matter is now listed for hearing on April 16.
Pertinently, a PIL contending that the lack of 4G connectivity for internet in Jammu and Kashmir is infringing the fundamental right to education, filed by the Private Schools Association, Jammu & Kashmir (PSAJK) is also pending before the top court.
Case Title: Court on its Own Motion v. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir
Case No.: WP(C) PIL no. 5/2020
Quorum: Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal
Click Here To Download Order