Kerala High Court Declares ‘Right to Access Internet’ as a Fundamental Right

Sept. 20, 2019, 10:17 p.m.

The Kerala High Court in a monumental decision has held ‘Right to Internet Access’ as a fundamental right. The Court declared that the right to have access to Internet becomes the part of right to education as well as right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The petition was filed by Faheema Shirin, a hostel resident and student of Sree Narayana College, Chelanur, Kozhikode against the discriminatory girls’ hostel rules, specifically banning use of mobile phones from 6 PM to 10 PM which restricted them from accessing internet. The petitioner was subsequently arbitrarily expelled from the hostel on protesting against the rules. intervened in the matter for the petitioner. In the counter-affidavit filed, brought to Court’s notice the arbitrary, unlawful and unconstitutional restrictions imposed on the female residents by the hostel authorities, specifically violations of Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21 which provide rights to equality, information and personal liberty. Restricting use of digital devices hampered the girl students’ ‘ability to access and use digital resources to learn and communicate’, thus putting them at serious disadvantage compared to their male counterparts.

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