Don’t delay call on 4G in Kashmir: SC to govt | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday frowned upon the delay on part of the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Centre in taking a coordinated and considered stand on the possibility of providing 4G internet services in Kashmir, suspended since August 5 last year.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana, R S Reddy and B R Gavai told solicitor general Tushar Mehta not to delay taking a decision on one pretext or the other when the law officer said there was a change in lieutenant governor in the UT and he would need time to take fresh instructions.
The SC on July 28 had asked the SG to explain the dichotomy in the stand of then LG G C Murmu, who had favoured resumption of 4G services, and the home secretary-headed high-powered committee, which had said the time was not right to provide faster internet services given the militancy and terrorism situation in the UT.
The bench said, “The then LG had said there was no difficulty in providing 4G telecom services in Kashmir. What is the basis for that statement? You explore if it is possible for the administration to provide 4G internet services in the UT. We do not know the ground level situation. But don’t delay things. Find out whether faster internet services can be restored in some areas if possible.”
Mehta said the government has implemented the SC’s judgment on reviewing the ground situation to examine whether conditions were ripe for providing faster internet services. “The then LG had apparently given an interview on faster internet services. Now, a new incumbent is in the post. I will take instruction and file an affidavit by Tuesday,” he added. The SC posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.
Petitioner NGO ‘Foundation for Media Professionals’ through senior advocate Huzefa Ahmedi had on July 28 said that though the panel headed by the home secretary had declined to make 4G internet services available in Kashmir for the time being, Murmu had told media organisations in separate interviews that the administration had no reservations if 4G internet services were provided in the UT. “Our only request is the authorities should consider the issue magnanimously rather than on other considerations,” Ahmedi said.
The SC had ordered the setting up of a high-powered committee headed by the home secretary to periodically review the situation in the state and determine whether high-speed internet services could be provided to people. The NGO had said in the absence of high-speed internet services, students could not attend virtual classes, businessmen could not transact, doctors could not give online consultation to patients and people’s free speech was impeded because of lack of proper internet. However, the Centre had said faster internet services were being misused in the state by elements inimical to peace who acted at the behest of a hostile neighbour to spread rumours and arouse passions of the public and disturb the atmosphere in the UT.

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