The Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be overlooked while making a decision on restoring 4G internet in the region, Live Law reported. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, directed the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to a petition seeking the restoration of the service amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai asked Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir, respectively, to file a detailed reply to the petition by April 27 after assessing the ground situation in the region.
Appearing for ‘Foundation for Media Professionals’, Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi told the court that 4G services are essential amid the pandemic so that the people can connect with doctors in case of an emergency. He added that without 4G internet services, schools are facing problems in holding virtual classes for their students amid the lockdown.
Opposing the petitioner, Venugopal said that militancy still poses a threat to Jammu and Kashmir and it cannot be overlooked. “It is a serious issue, militancy is still there,” Venugopal told the court. “The militants are being made into martyrs.”
Another petitioner, the Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir, told the court that 2,200 schools in the region are being unable to hold online classes. The association’s lawyer told the court that the future of over 20 lakh is at stake because of inadequate internet services.
Earlier this month, the top court had asked the government to respond to a petition by the Foundation for Media Professionals, challenging an order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir administration on March 26 stating only 2G mobile internet services will be available to residents till April 3. The foundation alleged the government order was violated the right to equality, freedom of speech and right to life, guaranteed in the Constitution.
In March, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had revoked the ban on social media nearly seven months after it was put in place as the Centre stripped the region of its special status.