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Foundation for Media Professional vs. Union Territory of Jammu Kashmir & Anr.

Foundation for Media Professional vs. Union Territory of Jammu Kashmir & Anr.

[Writ Petition (Civil)…of 2020 (D. No. 10817 of 2020)]

Soayib Qureshi vs. Union Territory of Jammu, Kashmir & Anr.

[Writ Petition (Civil)…of 2020 (D. No. 10875 of 2020)]

Private Schools Association J and K vs. Union Territory of Jammu, Kashmir & Anr.

[Writ Petition (Civil)…of 2020 (D. No. 10904 of 2020)]


Bench:

N.V. RAMANA, J.

R.SUBHASH REDDY, J.

B.R. GAVAI, J.


Main Question for Determination:


The question to determine the restart of 4G services in the wake of COVID-19 & its effect on National Security.


Arguments:


The petitioners argued that in circumstances of nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus, their right to health is dependent on the availability of 4G services in order to access medical services and information on containment strategies. This denial also violated people’s right to information. It is creating problems for students to prepare for competitive exams and testimonies collected by petitioner in W.P. © D. No.10817 of 2020 which narrates the importance of the same.

The petitioners submitted that since the introduction of internet services in the valley, the number of incidents of terrorism has actually gone down. The petitioner also argued that if restrictions are must, they must be regulated to particular areas as ordered by the Supreme Court in Anuradha Bhasin[1] Case as well as the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 where review committee for the same is required.

The respondent argued that the courts should not step into issues related to National Security and the claims of fundamental rights must be interpreted against Public interest in order to ensure a balance. Moreover, they argued that all information related to Covid-19 had reached around 1 lakh health professionals in the valley through fixed-line internet, radio, television, and local cable. For ensuring proper education of students lessons are being delivered on 16 DD channels at the national level and delivery of textbooks up to elementary level is done at doorsteps.

The Respondent rebutted the petitioner's argument related to terrorism and pointed out that over 108 terrorist incidents have taken place in the recent past. The learned Solicitor General even referred to the current terrorist activity that took place in Kupwara District.


Decision and Reason:


The Court said that on perusal of submissions made by both the parties, the arguments of petitioners in normal circumstances, merit consideration. However, compelling conditions of cross-border terrorism, at present cannot be ignored.

The Court pointed to the fact that all the data provided by the solicitor General clearly proves that the terrorist incidents are increasing and if 4G services are provided in the area, that will benefit terrorists in increasing their activities.

The Court constituted Special Committee having both executives of Union and State Governments namely, Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, The Secretary, Department of Communications, and the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir to look into the prevailing circumstances and immediately determine the necessity of continuation of the restriction in the region.

The Court after constituting the committee disposed of the writ petitions and directed that all other pending applications stand disposed.


Conclusion:

The decision of the Supreme Court in this serious situation of Covid-19 is well versed and reasoned. If 4G services are restored then the infiltration by Pakistani Military and terrorists will force the government to direct a lot of resources towards the situation and it will affect the whole nation in recovering from Covid-19. Moreover, 2G services can help people to have recourse to textbooks so that their studies are not hampered.

REFERENCES:


Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, (2020) SCC 25.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Swati Tolambia is currently studying law at School of Law, Mody University, Laxmangarh, Sikar (Raj.)

You can contact them: https://www.linkedin.com/in/swati-tolambia-bb22401aa

Edited by Rudra Prasad

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