The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to explore the possibility of restoring high-speed 4G internet services in certain areas, PTI reported.
Internet services were stopped in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year after the Narendra Modi government revoked Article 370 and bifurcated the former state into two Union Territories. It was restored in phases in the second week of January. Last month, the ban on 4G internet was extended till August 19 as the administration cited security concerns and inputs of rise in “anti-national” activities as a reason. Currently, only 2G internet is allowed in the region.
A bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai were hearing a contempt petition filed by a non governmental organisation, challenging the blanket restrictions on high-speed internet and for alleged “wilful disobedience” in complying with the court’s May 11 order. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Centre, sought time to take instructions in the matter as a new lieutenant governor has been appointed in the Union Territory. Former Union minister Manoj Sinha took over as the new lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.
However, the Supreme Court told Mehta that a special committee has been constituted to look into the matter and Sinha’s appointment does not change anything. The court added that matter should not be delayed.
The judges also told the solicitor general that he has to explain under what circumstances former Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu had said that the administration has no objection in restoring 4G internet services in the Valley. Murmu’s reported recommendation last month had caused a stir as the Centre has been maintaining, and even filed an affidavit stating that the situation was not right to restore high speed internet because of heightened terror activities.
The matter will be heard next on August 11.
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