The Supreme Court has said that access to Internet is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution subject to some restrictions. The court today asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review within a week all orders imposing restrictions in the Union Territory.
A three judge bench headed by Justice N V Ramana also asked the J-K administration to restore Internet services in institutions providing essential services like hospitals and educational places. The bench said, freedom of press is a valuable and sacred right.
The bench which also comprised justices B R Gavai and R Subhash Reddy said Section 144 CrPC (prohibitory orders) cannot be used indefinitely to suppress freedom of speech and expression and difference of opinion. It said magistrates, while passing prohibitory orders, should apply their mind and follow doctrine of proportionality.
The Court was hearing a batch of pleas which challenged curbs imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre’s abrogation of provisions of Article 370 on August 5 last year. These batch of pleas were different from another set of petitions which challenge constitutional validity of abrogation of Article 370, being heard by a five-judge Constitution bench. The bench will resume its hearing on January 21.