I have the right to the Internet. Do you have? Yes, I have the right to the internet and it is a big matter. Because there is 60 per cent of people in the world don’t have the right to the internet. And if we talk about least developed countries, I out of 10 people have internet access in developing countries.
There are so many countries that don’t allow to access specific content to the people, they restrict it. But in today’s era, no development is possible without digital use. Therefore by seeing the need for access to the internet and government tactics UNHRC in 2016 said, Right to the Internet should be made a fundamental right. A long time ago they also demand to make the right to education a Fundamental Right.
Let us talk about India. In the last 10 years 400 internet shutdowns in India. And if we talk about last one year, on 4th August 2019 when parliament by revoking Article 370 made two union territories which are Jammu and Kashmir and UT of Ladakh. And parliament also imposed Section 144 of IPC, for security purposes. And parliament also shut down the Internet. Then this internet shut down made the longest internet shut down all over India.
On 4th August 2019 due to security reasons internet is shut down in J&K and it takes 213 days to restore it, and it restores on 4th March 2020. And therefore it makes Indias longest internet shut down. In between these two days there come three very important Judgemets which decide a new right called Right to the Internet.
Faheema was a college student. Her girls’ hostel rules say that no phones from 6-10 in the hostel. By opposing this rule this case was filed before a single bench of Kerala High Court which is heading by Justice Asha. This Court delivered a big Judgement by considering the learning process and development of the student. And Court says in the Judgement that the
The right to access the Internet is a Fundamental Right. And it combined in Article 21 Right to Privacy. And also combined it with RIght to Education.
This case is related to J&K. Case filed on 10th January which said: In this case, the internet shutdown running from August 4 was challenged. In this Judgmeemt Court said Restricting physical movement along with online communication restriction violates Art. 19. Right to the Internet is part of Article 19 (A) and Right to the Internet is a part of Art. 19(A).
Due to an immediate threat or security concerns, a temporary ban on services is permissible. But the ban of Internet services for an indefinite time is not right. The balance between national security and human rights should be maintained. After the Judgement of 10th January, low-speed internet (2GB) was allowed in J&K. After this one more case was filed in the Court.
The Ban on 3G and 4G internet was challenged by this case. This case is popularly known as the 4G Case. The Court says in the judgement of this case that, bans like these violate the Right to Education, Right to Profession, Right to Health and many other Fundamental Rights.
In this case, Supreme Court issued direction to resume 4G services and a committee was set up.
After much discussion centre after 15th August decided to resume services in limited areas as a trial phase.
Court says that it is very important to make a balance between national interest and Human Rights. And after that, the service of 4G and 3G was resumed in J&K