Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Law and Communication Minister cleared the misconception regarding Right to Internet being a fundamental right. Addressing a query during Question Hour on 6 February, 2020 Union Minister said that the country’s security was equally important. He said that the decision to shut internet services is taken by local authorities, as it is a state subject, taking into consideration the law and order situation.
“The Supreme Court has clearly stated that no lawyer argued that right to Internet is a fundamental right. This kind of misconception needs to be corrected. What the Supreme Court has stated is that for communication of your ideas and views via the use of Internet will also to be held a part of your fundamental right of speech and expression,” said Prasad in reply.
He said that the abuse of the internet to spread violence and terrorist by Pakistan in Kashmir cannot be denied by anyone. “While right of Internet is important, security of the country is equally important.... Can we deny (that) Internet...is abused by terrorists...for violence and there have been attempts to create unrest in Kashmir from across the border through Internet,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
While answering a supplementary question by Leader of the opposition in the Upper House, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prasad said that having been a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir he had also been on the hit list of terrorists and was well aware of abuse of Internet.
Internet has been curbed several times on account of its abuse and “what the Supreme Court has done is they have said temporary suspension of rules must be periodically reviewed”, he said.
“Once the Supreme Court has announced that the use of internet to propagate one’s opinion and ideas will be held to be fundamental rights and I will like to flag; this will also be subject to reasonable restrictions for public order, security and integrity of India,” he further added.
Ravi Shankar Prasad had recently visited Jammu and Kashmir on demand of apple growers at Sapore, which produces 300 varieties and sends out 450 trucks daily, had initiated the process of making it an e-mandi.
“People in Kashmir are happy,” he said and added voice, SMS and landline services have been restored in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, while Broadband is functional in Jammu division.
“We have allowed it for white listed websites... there are 783 white-listed websites of government, banking, tourism, ecommerce, transportation, education,” he said.
Author: Nandini Gandhi