SC seeks response from Centre, J&K on plea alleging contempt of order on internet curbs

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Central government and Jammu and Kashmir administration to file a detailed affidavit on a contempt petition for allegedly violating its judgement over internet restrictions in the Union Territory.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana and also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, while hearing the petition filed by the Freedom for Media Professionals (FMP), directed the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir to file their affidavits within a week.

Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that due to the absence of 4G speed and connectivity, online classes for students, medical updates, e-commerce, online shopping, patients and doctors are suffering as they do not have access to information.

Ahmadi said that the Union of India is not responding to representations being filed against the suspension of internet services and orders on the same aren’t being published.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before the apex court that the Central government had constituted a committe, which had taken a decision on the same.

Attorney General KK Venugopal also said that there is no question of contempt as a committee had been formed, to which, Justice Ramana said, “but nothing is in the public domain”.

The contempt petition, filed on June 9, had alleged that there is a wilful failure on part of the government officials in complying with the orders of the Supreme Court in the matter.

The apex court had, on May 11, directed that a “special committee” be constituted to “immediately” to determine the necessity of continued restriction of mobile internet speeds in Jammu and Kashmir to 2G only.

The contempt petition said that despite 29 days having elapsed, there was no constitution of this committee.

The FMP, in its contempt petition, claimed that those government officials responsible for this non-constitution of this high-powered committee should be prosecuted for contempt of court.

It said that this committee had to determine whether 3G/4G internet could be provided to certain regions in the Union Territory on a trial basis.

Despite the directions of the apex court, no such committee seems to have been constituted, and no order has been published by them reviewing the order of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, which has continued internet restrictions in the region.

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