A PIL has been filed in the apex court asserting that the prevailing internet restrictions violate the right to education of children in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir. The PIL has been filed by Advocates Soayib Qureshi & Charu Ambwani on behalf of Private Schools Association, Jammu & Kashmir (PSAJK). The petitioners challenge government orders dated 18.01.2020, 24.01.2020, 26.03.2020, 03.04.2020 issued on internet speed restrictions in the PIL.
The plea focuses on the repercussions of the internet speed restrictions on the educational front. It brings forth the detrimental effects caused by internet restrictions that followed the abrogation of Article 370. The petition reads, “Right to Education is the most important of the fundamental rights which is enabled by the right to use Internet as a medium of gaining, obtaining and dissemination of knowledge. Online classes have become essential in the present times and Jammu and Kasmir endures severe restrictions”.
The plea contains a letter addressed to the PM by a student of class 5 requesting 4G internet for his/her online classes. The petition avers that the speed restrictions are not in compliance with the judgement of Anuradha Bhasin v Union of India read with Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India. Adding that the restrictions don’t allow the petitioners to carry out businesses.
On 09.04.2020, the Supreme Court had issued notices in another PIL relating to internet speed restrictions, filed by Foundation of Media Professionals, requesting restoration of 4G internet services. The petition by Foundation of Media Professionals focused on the hardships faced during the Coronavirus lockdown owing to the 2G internet. Subsequently, the J&K administration had passed an order to retain the prevailing limits on mobile internet till April 15 on 3 April.