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Anuradha Bhasin’s Case – Internet Shutdown

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: live law

 

Context:  The Supreme Court issued notice-seeking compliance with the judgment of the Apex Court in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India and Ors, wherein it had laid down guidelines with respect to the internet shutdown.

  

Background:

The main petition was filed by Anuradha Bhasin, which challenged the curbs on the internet, media, and other prohibitions imposed in the Kashmir region following the abrogation of the special status of J&K.

  

Constitutional Articles Related to internet shutdown:

  • Freedom of speech and expression and also freedom of trade and commerce through the medium of the internet are constitutionally protected rights under Articles 19(1)(a) and Articles 19(1)(g).
  • Restriction on fundamental rights should be in accordance with the mandate under Articles 19(2) and (6) and in consonance with the test of proportionality.
    • The test of proportionality is a legal principle used to determine whether a governmental action is a justified infringement on an individual’s fundamental rights or not.

 

Court had passed the following directions in the case:

An order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017.

  1. Suspension can be utilized for a temporary duration only.
  2. Any order suspending internet issued under the Suspension Rules must adhere to the principle of proportionality and must not extend beyond the necessary duration
  3. Any order suspending the internet under the Suspension Rules is subject to judicial review.