Lawyersera: Is Right to Internet as a Fundamental Right?

Monday, November 16, 2020

Is Right to Internet as a Fundamental Right?

I have internet and that's not a small thing to have because there are 60% of people in the world who doesn't have the right to the internet and if we look at least developed countries only 1 out of 10 people have internet access along with this there are many countries which don't allow their citizens to access specific contents, they restrict it to do so but in today's generation no development is possible without digitalization.

So looking at the suppressive tactics of the governments, In 2016 UNHRC said that Right To Internet should be made a fundamental right. Many years back like this only they asked for a new right to become a fundamental right which was “right to education”

So now let's talk about India, In past 10 years there were around 400 Internet shutdowns in India and if we talk about past one year, On 4th Aug 2019 when Indian parliament revoked Article 370 from the constitution and separated the state of Jammu and Kashmir in to two union territories  that is Jammu &  kashmir and Laddakh  for maintaining the security of nation, the government imposed section 144 which prohibits the assembly of more than five peoples, along with this they did Internet Shutdown and this shutdown becomes the longest internet shutdown of India

So due to security concerns, on 4th Aug 2019 the internet services of J&K was suspended and it gets restore after 213 days that was on 4th March 2020 and that's why it becomes the longest shutdown of the country between these two dates there was three important judgment made which in future decides the new right of the nation, Right to Internet.

We will discuss three important cases coving this topic.

The 1st  case is of Faheema Shirin R.K. v. State of Kerala

In this case Faheema Shirin who is a college student, in their girls hostel there was a rule that they are not allowed to use cell phones between 6 to10,  opposing this restriction of the hostel this case was filed in front of Justice P V Asha single judge bench of the kerala high court. Keeping in mind the learning process and development of the students, this court produced an imp judgment and said that Right to Access Internet is a fundamental right and it was added with Article 21 of the constitution that is Right to privacy and Right to Access Internet was added in relation with Right to Education So this was the case of Faheema shirin.

The 2nd case is Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India

Now this case directly relates with Jammu and Kashmir, this case was filed on 10th January, in which the internet ban was challenged, which was imposed on 4th Aug they said that restricting physical movement along with shut downing all the mediums of online communication violates fundamental right under Article 19 of the constitution as Right to Internet is a part of Article 19 (1a)

Hon’ble Supreme court said, due to immediate threat or security concern a temporary ban on any services is permissible but for indefinite period, internet services cant be suspended, the balance should be maintained between national security and human rights.

So after the judgment of 10th January 2020, the lowest speed 2G internet was allowed in Jammu & Kashmir but after the case of Anuradha Bhasin one more cased was filed in court, the case was of Foundation of Media Professionals vs Union of India. In this case the ban on 3G and 4G internet service in Jammu and Kashmir was challenged. This case is popularly known as  4G case. In this case they said that such ban on internet services completely violates Right to Education, Right to Profession, Right to  Health and many fundamental rights

Supreme court issued directions to resume 4G services and also setup a committee along this after much discussion, center directed to resume 4G services as a trial basis on limited areas of Jammu & Kashmir .

it all started on 4th Aug 2019, when internet services of Jammu & Kashmir got suspended for indefinite period due to national security concerns, Now come to Sept 2019, the case of Faheema shirin, in which kerala the most literate state of India said that Right to Internet is a fundamental right. you should also know that Kerala State government is running a project in which they are providing internet at a subsidized rate to 20 lakh poor families so this was Faheema shirins case

Now let us look at Jan 2020, Anuradha Bhasins judgement, in this case supreme court said that due to immediate threat, you can disable services temporarily but indefinite ban is not at all right and after this case the 2G services got resumed in Jammu & Kashmir

Finally comes the case of Foundation For Media Professionals, in this case supreme court said that it is very important to maintain balance between national interest and human rights and due to this case 3G and 4G services got resumed in some areas of Jammu and Kashmir.



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