PIL in Supreme Court seeks free and uninterrupted services for calling, data, DTH, and streaming platforms during Coronavirus lockdown
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PIL in Supreme Court seeks free and uninterrupted services for calling, data, DTH, and streaming platforms during Coronavirus lockdown

Shruti Mahajan

A PIL has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking directions to service providers such as Bharti Airtel, RelianceJio, Amazon Services, and others to provide free and uninterrupted calling, data, and streaming services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Advocate Manohar Pratap has moved the Supreme Court saying that the cause of action arose on March 24, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nation-wide lockdown from March 25 onwards. The movement of all individuals has since been restricted in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the interest of the "psychological health" of the citizens, the petitioner says that it is pertinent that directions and orders are passed to service providers to provide uninterrupted communication and entertainment services to people who are in isolation or in quarantine at this time.

"If such directions are not passed there is high probability that respondents will not provide any free services of communication and entertainment to the citizens during lockdown which is detrimental to the life and liberty of the citizens. It will further result in injury to the psychological health of the public at large thereby resulting in gross violation of Right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India."
Plea in Supreme Court

It is also argued that while the government has taken numerous steps to address the issues surrounding the pandemic and the lockdown, no step has been taken as regards the mounting psychological pressure on the citizens, who have now been restrained from making any movement outside their homes.

"The humans are social and emotional beings who requires social interactions, various modes of entertainment to keep their psychological well-being in good form."
Plea in Supreme Court

The petitioner makes a special mention of those citizens who are stranded alone and without their families. Taking their example, the plea states that it is imperative for the government to take steps to provide free and unlimited calling facilities to the citizens of the country.

Consumption of entertainment content through satellite services, including DTH services and streaming facilities such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, will help in lowering psychological stress caused due to confinement, the plea goes on to state.

On these grounds, among others, it is prayed,

"...in order to provide basic human need of social interaction and entertainment, the respondents may be directed to offer the services completely free and unlimited."

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news