The Supreme Court today (January 10, 2020) has said that it won’t go into political propriety of decisions which is best left for democratic forces to decide. The Court opined,
“The Central government can’t claim exemption from producing all orders imposing restrictions before the court. They have to produce all orders passed under Section 144 of Cr.PC imposing restrictions including the Internet Shutdown order. The Test of proportionality needs to be satisfied. This freedom can only be restricted after relevant factors are considered and only if there are no other options.”
The Court upholding freedom of internet as a fundamental right under freedom of speech provided under Article 19of the Constitution of India, 1949 also said, “Internet is not a luxury; it is a basic right. Use of Internet enjoys constitutional protection as tool for freedom of speech and expression and carry on profession.”
The Apex Court has also directed the Jammu & Kashmir administration to review all orders suspending Internet service. Moreover, an order suspending internet service permanently is impermissible & all orders suspending internet services are subject to judicial review.
Earlier, a full bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai had reserved judgment on a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of Kashmir lockdown, which was imposed in the wake of abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year.
Supreme Court has ordered the restoration of all government and local body websites where abuse of internet is minimal and review the past orders within 7 days.