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Internet partially restored in Kashmir

153 websites whitelisted including banking and financial services, but no social media or news

Sabrangindia 17 Jan 2020

kashmir

Just days after the Supreme Court came down heavily on the Jammu and Kashmir administration for shutting down internet in the region, the Home Department via an order passed on January 14 has partially restored internet in some parts of the Union Territory. Broadband and 2G services were restored in Jammu, Sambha, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi as per an order passed by Shaleen Kabra, Prinicpal Secretary in the Home Department.

However, only 153 websites have been whitelisted so far. These include Gmail, Wikipedia, PayPal, Western Union, some banking websites including that of J&K Bank, 38 educational websites, among others. Websites of other services such as passport assistance, tax filing, UIDAI were also whitelisted and are available where there is broadband. Among entertainment websites and streaming services, Netflix and Amazon have been green-lighted.

However, popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are still not up. News websites also appear to not have been whitelisted. This is purportedly due to apprehensions of “separatists / anti-national elements within who are attempting to aid and incite people by transmission of fake news and targeted messages.”

The entire orfer may be read here:

On January 10, while passing the landmark judgment the SC had made several key observations. On the primary contention that prohibitory orders had a chilling effect on freedom of press, the court said, “There is no doubt that the freedom of the press is a valuable and sacred right enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. This right is required in any modern democracy without which there cannot be transfer of information or requisite discussion for a democratic society.”

Significantly, the court ruled, “We declare that the freedom of speech and expression and the   freedom   to   practice   any   profession   or   carry   on   any trade, business or occupation over the medium of internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) and Article   19(1)(g). The   restriction   upon   such   fundamental rights should be in consonance with the mandate under Article 19 (2) and (6) of the Constitution, inclusive of the test of proportionality.”

On the subject of temporary suspension of internet, the court said, “An order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017. Suspension can be utilized for temporary duration only.” It added, “In any case, the State/concerned authorities are directed to consider forthwith allowing government websites, localized/limited e­banking facilities, hospitals services and other essential   services, in those regions, wherein the internet services are not likely to be restored immediately.”

Internet partially restored in Kashmir

153 websites whitelisted including banking and financial services, but no social media or news

kashmir

Just days after the Supreme Court came down heavily on the Jammu and Kashmir administration for shutting down internet in the region, the Home Department via an order passed on January 14 has partially restored internet in some parts of the Union Territory. Broadband and 2G services were restored in Jammu, Sambha, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi as per an order passed by Shaleen Kabra, Prinicpal Secretary in the Home Department.

However, only 153 websites have been whitelisted so far. These include Gmail, Wikipedia, PayPal, Western Union, some banking websites including that of J&K Bank, 38 educational websites, among others. Websites of other services such as passport assistance, tax filing, UIDAI were also whitelisted and are available where there is broadband. Among entertainment websites and streaming services, Netflix and Amazon have been green-lighted.

However, popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are still not up. News websites also appear to not have been whitelisted. This is purportedly due to apprehensions of “separatists / anti-national elements within who are attempting to aid and incite people by transmission of fake news and targeted messages.”

The entire orfer may be read here:

On January 10, while passing the landmark judgment the SC had made several key observations. On the primary contention that prohibitory orders had a chilling effect on freedom of press, the court said, “There is no doubt that the freedom of the press is a valuable and sacred right enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. This right is required in any modern democracy without which there cannot be transfer of information or requisite discussion for a democratic society.”

Significantly, the court ruled, “We declare that the freedom of speech and expression and the   freedom   to   practice   any   profession   or   carry   on   any trade, business or occupation over the medium of internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) and Article   19(1)(g). The   restriction   upon   such   fundamental rights should be in consonance with the mandate under Article 19 (2) and (6) of the Constitution, inclusive of the test of proportionality.”

On the subject of temporary suspension of internet, the court said, “An order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017. Suspension can be utilized for temporary duration only.” It added, “In any case, the State/concerned authorities are directed to consider forthwith allowing government websites, localized/limited e­banking facilities, hospitals services and other essential   services, in those regions, wherein the internet services are not likely to be restored immediately.”

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