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Right to continuous internet part of right to live: Allahabad HC registers suo motu PIL over suspension of internet in UP

"The right to have continuous Internet Service in the present era is an extension of the right to live," the High Court observed.

Meera Emmanuel

The Allahabad High Court has taken up the issue of recent incidents of suspension of internet services in Uttar Pradesh in a suo motu PIL. An order to this effect was passed last month, after concerns over the same were raised before the Court by various lawyers.

While ordering that the PIL be registered under the title, “Reference to the discontinuation of Internet services by the State Authorities,” the High Court also highlighted that continuous internet service now forms a part of the right to life under Article 21.

The right to have continuous Internet Service in the present era is an extension of the right to live and, as such, discontinuation of that is in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Allahabad High Court

Last month saw the Uttar Pradesh government suspend internet services in various parts of the state as a preventive measure in view of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019.

The Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Vivek Varma recorded concerns raised that such discontinuation of internet services would affect various spheres of public activity including the judicial system.

The stoppage of Internet Services, as a matter of fact, has paralyzed the entire judicial system. It is emphasized that in absence of Internet all day to day activities stands still.”

The Court further recorded submissions that while there may be administrative exigencies for suspending the internet, the measure should only be resorted to in the rarest cases.

In present days, where each and every activity of life is dependent to the Internet services, the Administration must adopt some other mode and methods to meet with different eventualities pertaining to the law and order issues.”

The Bench proceeded to take up the issue suo motu, while also issuing notice to the Uttar Pradesh Government, observing that,

Having considered all aspects of the matter, we deem it appropriate to direct the Registry to register a writ petition in public interest litigation jurisdiction in the name of “Reference to the discontinuation of Internet services by the State Authorities.”

The matter was scheduled to be taken up next on January 3.

[Read the order]

Discontinuation of Internet Services - Allahabad HC suo motu PIL.pdf
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