SFLC.in assists in challenging the Haryana shutdown order

Feb. 12, 2021, 4:14 p.m.

A Writ petition was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court earlier on 01-02-2021 against the shutdown imposed by the Haryana Government since 27th January 2021. The matter was listed on 9-02.2021 in front of the Chief Justice's Bench.
It had started with internet being suspended in Jhajjhar, Sonipat and Palwal districts in Haryana on 27th January 2021. The internet was said to be shut till 5PM on 27th January originally but later the order was extended till 5PM on 28th January 2021. This was extended to many other districts, the total number being 17. The shutdown was completely lifted only after a period of more than 10 days on 6th February 2021 from all districts in Haryana.
Aggrieved by this, a petitioner moved to court as he was unable to work without internet or get medical services. The matter was heard on 9-02-2021. The matter was withdrawn as it was the opinion of the bench that it had become infructuous. Lawyers from SFLC.in. Prasanth Sugathan, Radhika Jhalani and Kushagra Sinha  as well as Mishi Choudhary appeared for the petitioner. 

A copy of the writ petition can be found at https://sflc.in/sflcin-assists-challenging-haryana-shutdown-order 

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SFLC.in sent a representation to Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh on the 31st of October 2020 regarding suspension of internet services

Nov. 2, 2020, 7:20 p.m.

A newspaper article dated 30.10.2020 published in Telegraph India titled ‘Arunachal Internet Bar to curb Cheating’ stated that Arunachal Pradesh government will be shutting down internet services on 1st November 2020 in 15 of its districts to ensure that no cheating takes place during state civil service exams.

SFLC.in sent a representation to the Government of Arunachal Pradesh dated 31.10.2020 requesting the state government to reconsider shutting down the internet to prevent cheating in exams.

Suspending Internet services to prevent cheating in exams is a grave violation of The Temporary Suspension Of Telecom Services (Public Emergency Or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 as well the decision of the honorable Supreme Court of India in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India.

SFLC.in requested the State authorities to reconsider shutting down the internet to prevent cheating in examinations. Internet shutdowns have a harrowing impact on citizens and are often disproportionate in nature. Internet shutdowns are bound to cause economic loss, an impact on education, healthcare and other welfare schemes. An internet shutdown during a pandemic can be especially grave considering citizens depend on the internet to get information, work and study.

To view the full copy of the representation, visit: https://sflc.in/representation-sent-arunchal-pradesh-government-suspension-internet-services-15-districts-curb 

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SFLC.in and LiveLaw hosted a discussion on 'Reconciling State's Interest with a Digital Life" on the 4th of August, 2020

Aug. 31, 2020, 7:06 p.m.

Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC.in) in collaboration with Live Law hosted a panel on August 4, 2020 to commemorate a year of communication blockade in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The panel on “Reconciling State’s interest with a digital life” was centred on the growing spurt of Internet shutdowns in the paradigm of national security, misinformation, censorship, content takedown and encryption, and further extended to discussing a roadmap for communication freedom in Jammu and Kashmir.

The panel was laced with eminent dignitaries which included Manish Tewari, Member of Parliament and Lawyer, Prof Manoj Jha, Member of Parliament, Dr Gulshan Rai, Former Chief Information Security Officer (Prime Minister’s Office), Ms. Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times, Mr Faisal Farooqui, Founder of Mouthshut.com, Ms. Sairee Chehal, Founder of Sheroes.

The panel was moderated by Ms. Mishi Choudhary, Founder of SFLC.in.

Read the report of the panel discussion at: https://sflc.in/report-panel-discussion-reconciling-states-interest-digital-life 

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Collective statement to urge the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to restore High-Speed Internet dated 12.08.2020

Aug. 13, 2020, 7:29 p.m.

SFLC.IN along with a coalition of non-profit organisations and civil society groups voice their concerns urging the Jammu and Kashmir Government to restore high speed internet access in the region. The statement also requests the government to ensure stable and secure communication services in the Union Territory.

A letter was sent to the Jammu and Kashmir Government highlighting the fact that the UT has been facing unprecedented restrictions on communications since August 4, 2019. Communications have not been completely restored even after almost a year. These communication blocks have caused immense damage to the citizens of the erstwhile state. Students have lost many hours of their education, people have lost their livelihoods, the media has been severely crippled, the economy has suffered immensely and businesses have collapsed in the absence of a stable internet connection. Moreover, people of the region have suffered significant emotional trauma because of the communication clampdown and the inability to reach out to loved ones.

To know more the collective statement and its supporting organisations, visit: https://sflc.in/collective-statement-urge-government-jammu-and-kashmir-restore-highspeed-internet 

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SFLC.in sent a representation to the IT standing committee on the menace of Internet Shutdowns dated 08.06.2020

Aug. 10, 2020, 9:17 p.m.

SFLC.in had written to all the members of the IT committee chaired by Dr. Shashi Tharoor on 8th June 2020 highlighting the menace of Internet shutdowns.

Our letter highligted the adverse impact of Internet shutdowns on citizens of the country. The letter also reinstated the plight of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir as the region has had more than 365 days of restricted communication.

To read the letter, visit: https://sflc.in/sflcin-sent-representation-it-standing-committee-menace-internet-shutdowns 

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SFLC.in wrote a letter dated 03.06.2020 to the special committee to offer assistance in Jammu and Kashmir for restoring 4G Internet Services

June 8, 2020, 9:19 p.m.

SFLC.in wrote a letter to the special committee formed by the Supreme Court in Foundation of Media Professionals v. Union of India offering our assistance to the committee.

On 11th May 2020, the Supreme Court had ordered that a special committee has to be formed comprising of The Home Secretary to the Government of India, the Communications secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to look into restoring 4G internet connection in the Union Territory. This committee was to be headed by the Home Secretary.

Jammu and Kashmir had faced unprecedented communication blackout since August 4th, 2019. 2G internet speed was restored in the valley only after 213 days. During this time, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country, making it essential for the region to have 4G internet speed.

The order pronounced by a Bench comprising of Justices N.V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy, and B.R Gavai constituted a special committee to look into restoring 4G in the region. The order also asked the special committee to consider restricting internet speed in problematic areas and letting other areas have high-speed internet on a trial basis.

We wrote to the special committee offering our assistance in the matter.

To read the letter, visit: https://sflc.in/letter-special-committee-offer-assistance-jammu-and-kashmir-restoring-4g-internet-services

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