Litigation Tracker

The litigation section lists out all the significant litigations that have taken place on Internet shutdowns in India.

Feb. 14, 2024

Uday Pratap Singh v. Union of India & Ors

A resident from Haryana filed a plea before the Punjab & Haryana High Court against the suspension of mobile internet services and closure of borders around the Punjab-Haryana border.

The Petitioner, who is also an advocate at the High Court, expressed concerns about sealing of the border between Haryana and Punjab. Additionally, the petitioner expressed concerns over the actions taken by the Haryana authorities, including the suspension of mobile internet services and bulk SMS in several districts such as Ambala, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Jind, Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa.

The matter was mentioned before the bench of Acting Chief Justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia who sought a reply from the State and posted the matter for hearing on Thursday, February 15, 2024.

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Sept. 21, 2023 v The State of Jharkhand had challenged the Internet Shutdown imposed during February and June, 2022 in the state of Jharkhand.

Counsel Shailesh Poddar of the Digital Defenders Network and counsels Arjun Adrian Dsouza and Prasanth Sugathan assisted in the filing of the petition.

Grounds of challenge included the non-publication of orders and violation of guidelines laid down in the Anuradha Bhasin judgment.

The Jharkhand High Court passed a final order on 11th September, 2023. The following directions have been passed to the State Government:

  1. To ensure all future orders comply with the principles laid down in Anuradha Bhasin and Foundation for Media Professions vs UT of J&K (2020) 5 SCC 746.
  2. Further, all previous orders imposing shutdowns have to be uploaded to the State Government's website within 48 hours.


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July 20, 2023

Manipur High Court Order On Internet Shutdowns



Since 3rdMay, 2023, the State of Manipur has witnessed an unprecedented total internet shutdown. The internet shutdown has been active for a period of 78 days at this point. The districts of Churachandpur and Pherzawl were shut down even longer, with the first internet shutdown in the current spate of violence being imposed on 28thApril, 2023.Every shutdown order that was imposed had seen both broadband and mobile internet suspended. The internet shutdowns in Manipur were also imposed mechanically from May 3rdwhen mobile internet was shutdown and May 4thwhen broadband was shutdown. Every 5 days, a new order was passed extending the shutdown, with every subsequent shutdown order seeing both broadband and mobile internet being suspended simultaneously.The justification for the internet shutdown given by the State was violent clashes which escalated into widespread violence and killings across the state. This is one of the longest shutdowns imposed in the North-East, the longest shutdown in 2023, and the longest shutdown outside of the State of Kashmir in India. The last time an entire State was shutdown in India was earlier in 2023, when the State of Punjab was subjected to a total internet shutdown for a period of 5 days.Internet shutdown disproportionately impacts people, and is a tool that must be used sparingly. It has been reiterated by and other experts that the suspension of Internet services across States is bound to impact livelihood, education and health care for lakhs of people, as around 96 percent of the population in India depends on mobile internet services for a variety of uses. Apart from this, businesses rely on broadband services to provide their services, manage logistics, and access their bank accounts.


The violence and unrest in the State happened after the High Court passed a direction to consider granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Meitei community. The situation in the State deteriorated after a protest march, and data services were banned in the entirety of Manipur on May 3rd. The shutdown was then extended multiple times as highlighted.Opposing the internet shutdown, several Public Interest Litigations were filed before the High Court highlighting the plight of the citizens, especially students in the State as the admission process for the next academic session was ongoing.After more than 2 weeks of incessant shutdowns, the petitioners approached the Manipur High Court for relief on 20thMay. The Manipur High Court directed the state authoritiestoprovide limitedinternet service to the public in some designated places under the control of the state authorities on June 16, highlighting the hardship being faced by thepublicdue to the blocking of internet servicesin the state.The Supreme Courtwas also petitioned in the case of Chongtham Victor Singh & Anr. V. State of Manipur, (W.P.(C) No. 623/2023) to pass an order on internet shutdowns in the State. In this case, the Supreme Court refused to entertain the petition and directed the Petitioners to approach the concerned High Court. CJI DY Chandrachud, passing the order, said"A Division Bench of the High Court of Manipur is already seized of the matter in which an expert committee was formed and directed to examine whether internet could be restored in the State.”In the pleas, the High Court directed all the Service Providers in the State, namely, Vodafone/Idea/Jio/BSNL and Airtel,tofile a short affidavit explaining whether it would be feasible to provide limited internet services to the public by blocking social media websites. The same would also safeguard the concern of the State Government to maintain law and order.ISSUES Whether it is feasible to provide limited internet services to the public by blocking social media websites/platforms to mitigate the hardship faced by the public on account of the total ban imposed by the State Government on providing internet services inthe State of Manipur;

Whether it is possible to block third party Private Virtual Network (PVN) servers to ensure providing of limited internet services to the public by blocking social media websites;Any other way or solution for providing limited internet service to the public by blocking the Social Media Websites/platforms.EXPERT COMMITTEE OPINION AND SOLUTION The suggestions and the means to provide limited access to internet services was given by the Expert Committee and the officials of the service providers as under: (a) Internet service can be provided by all the service providers operating in the State of Manipur to a limited number of specially identified/ whitelisted mobile numbers if such mobile numbers are identified and furnished by the Home Department, Government of Manipur. It has also been stated by all the officials of the service providers that providing of internet service will be exclusively limited to those specially identified or whitelisted mobile numbers and that there is no chance or possibility of any leakage. In other words, except for the person who is using the identified/ whitelisted mobile number, no other person can utilize or avail the internet service provided to the said mobile number; (b) Providing of internet servicethrough broadband connections, either through Internet Lease Line (ILL) or Fibre To The Home (FTTH) is absolutely possible by ensuring the following safeguards:-(i) Dedicated Lease line or FTTH line with static IP; (ii) Banning of Wifi/ Hotspots from any of the routers and systems; (iii) MAC binding at the system level or router; (iv) Blocking of social media websites and VPNs at the local level; (v) Removing of any existing VPNs softwares from the system and prohibiting installation of new softwaresby any user; and (vi) Enforcing Physical Monitoring by the concerned authority/ officialsCOURT’S ORDER After careful consideration of the opinions, suggestions and the means given by all the expert members for providing limited service to the public,the Court gave certain directions in the interest of the public to mitigate the hardships faced due to the complete ban imposed on internet services in the State. The order at the same time aimed to ensure the security of the State and safety of the life and properties of the citizens:the State Government, more particularly, the Home Department was directed to lift the ban on internet service through ILL throughout the whole State after ensuring that all the stakeholders have complied with the safeguards given by the Expert Committee; in the case of FTTH, lifting of the ban on providing internet service could be carried out by the Home Department on a case-to-case basis after ensuring that all the stakeholders have duly complied with the safeguards given by the Expert Committee. in respect of whitelisting mobile phone numbers, the State Government was directed to carry out a physical trial to find out the feasibility of providing internet service to the whitelisted mobile phones without jeopardizing the security of the State and the life and property of citizens, and after such verification, a detailed report was asked to be submitted before the Court on the next date of hearing.PLEA BEFORE SUPREME COURT State of Manipur vs Aribam DhanajoySharma alias Paojel Chaoba and Ors, SLP(C) No. 14732/2023Aggrieved by the Order of the High Court, the Manipur Government sought to approach the Supreme Court in order to reverse the ruling of the Manipur High Court. While refusing to do so, the Supreme Court in a hearing on 17thJuly stated that "The Solicitor General has submitted that the State of Manipur will approach the High Court of Manipur with the difficulties faced in implementing its order regarding internet. Liberty granted." CONCLUSIONAs it stands, the State of Manipur is still under a total internet shutdown. Orders passed by Officials show that this total internet shutdown will be in effect at least until the 20thof July. It is important that the directions of the Manipur High Court are complied with
immediately, in order to ensure that citizens finally have access to their livelihood, education, and other rights, all of which cannot be enjoyed without access to internet

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July 7, 2023

Aribam Dhananjoy Sharma @ Paojel Chaoba & ors. VS State of Manipur

The Manipur High Court had given direction for the formation of an expert committee including the Technical Experts of the Service Providers in order to give their opinion and solutions for providing limited internet service to the public simultaneously safeguarding the concerns of the Government for the security of the State and protecting the life and properties of the citizen. Thereafter the Manipur High Court has released on order on providing limited Internet services in the State

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June 15, 2023 challenged the Internet Shutdown imposed during February and June, 2022 in the state of Jharkhand. had challenged the Internet Shutdown imposed during February and June, 2022 in the state of Jharkhand.

Counsel Shailesh Poddar of the Digital Defenders Network and counsels Arjun Adrian Dsouza and Prasanth Sugathan assisted in the filing of the petition.

Grounds of challenge include the non-publication of orders and violation of guidelines laid down in the Anuradha Bhasin judgment.

The Jharkhand High Court has directed the State Government to file its reply and listed the matter for 11th September 2023.

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Sept. 14, 2022


The Hon’ble Supreme Court was pleased to issue notice to the Union of India on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Software Freedom Law Center, India ( challenging the imposition of Internet Shutdowns to prevent cheating in examinations in the five states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and West Bengal today. It was argued by Ms. Vrinda Grover, Adv. that the guidelines issued in Anuradha Bhasin vs. Union of India (2020) 3 SCC 637 were persistently not complied with. The Union of India which was impleaded as a party respondent on the direction of the Court, has been asked to clarify the standard protocol with respect to the grievance raised and the extent of compliance thereto by the States. The Union has been directed to file its reply within 3 weeks. The next hearing will take place after 4 weeks. had filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution before the Supreme Court of India against the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal challenging the arbitrary imposition of Internet Shutdowns during examinations. The State of Assam was impleaded in the petition as well. India is the leader in imposing Internet Shutdowns gloablly. The phenomenon of blanket internet bans during examinations to prevent copying has become common in several Indian states. Such bans primarily target mobile internet services.

Legal Team

The PIL is being argued by Ms. Vrinda Grover, Adv., assisted by Mr. Prasanna S (Advocate on Record), Soutik Banerjee, Swati Arya & Yuvraj Singh Rathore, Advs. and lawyers from Mishi Choudhary (Founder,, Prasanth Sugathan (Legal Director), Radhika Jhalani (Volunteer Legal Counsel and lead Internet Shutdowns Project), Mythili Srinivasamurthy (Volunteer Legal Counsel), Arjun Adrian D’Souza (Volunteer Legal Counsel).



The Court impleaded the Ministry of Communications through its Secretary, Government of India, is impleaded as
Respondent No.5 and issued notice only on the Ministry of Communications to put in an affidavit in response indicating whether there is any Standard Protocol with respect to the grievance raised by the petitioner and, if so, to what extent and how said Protocol is adhered to and implemented.



The matter was mentioned before the Supreme Court to be taken on urgent basis in light of the upcoming examinations scheduled to be held in the same states, which were subject of arbitrary internet shutdowns in 2021 and 2022.



The Court sought clarification on why the petitioners have not approached the High Courts. Counsel appearing for, Arjun Adrian D’Souza argued that this was a pan-India issue, hence, the Supreme Court would have jurisdiction to issue directions to all the states. It was further submitted that the impleaded states are recurrent players in imposing shutdowns to prevent cheating in exams. The CJI noted that since this was a pan-India issue, the Supreme Court would hear the matter. Petitioner was granted time to file a rejoinder to the counter affidavit filed by the Union of India. The matter has now been listed for 18th July, 2023.

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May 28, 2022

Udaipur Chamber of Commerce and Industry and ors. vs. Stateof Rajasthan; Rajasthan HC

UCCI and Hotel Association Udaipur filed a petition before theRajasthan High Court. The petition was filed against frequentarbitrary suspension of internet services which causedirreparable economic damage and violated fundamental rightsof the residents of Rajasthan. The petition prayed for adirection to the government to follow the procedure prescribedin the Telecom Suspension Rules and Anuradha BhasinJudgement. The matter has been admitted by the court

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March 31, 2022

Ashlesh Birader vs. State of West Bengal; Calcutta HC

The writ petition was filed by Ashlesh Birader challenging thesuspension of the internet for preventing cheating in exams bythe West Bengal Government. The order, passed under section144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, directed suspension ofinternet in various districts of West Bengal over 11 daysbetween 11 am to 3:15 pm. The petition sought a stay on theorder for being in violation of the law laid down in theAnuradha Bhasin Judgement. It also prayed for publishing thefindings of the review committee formed as pertelecommunication suspension Rules. The High Court grantedthe stay on the order suspending internet services. The courtdisposed of the petition while giving a direction to the state tofollow law laid down.

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May 13, 2021 filed a Public Interest Litigation [WP No. 5425/2020], challenging the imposition of an internet shutdown which was done in Hoogly district in West Bengal on May 12, 2020. filed a Public Interest Litigation, challenging the imposition of an internet shutdown which was done in Hoogly district in West Bengal on May 12, 2020. The Petitioner claimed in the Petition that the shutdown was illegal and unconstitutional on the grounds of violation of fundamental rights, lack of jurisdiction, there being no justification for issuing such order and the order being disproportional to the situation prevailing in the area filed a Public Interest Litigation, challenging the imposition of an internet shutdown which was done in Hoogly district in West Bengal on May 12, 2020. The Petitioner claimed in the Petition that the shutdown was illegal and unconstitutional on the grounds of violation of fundamental rights, lack of jurisdiction, there being no justification for issuing such order and the order being disproportional to the situation prevailing in the area concerned.

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Feb. 1, 2021 assisted in filing a Writ Petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging internet shutdown imposed in the State of Haryana since 27.01.2021

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 infront 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 Febuary 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 Prasanth Sugathan, Radhika Jhalani and Kushagra Sinha  as well as Mishi Choudhary appeared for the petitioner.

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Dec. 19, 2020

Case: Banashree Gogoi v. Union of India and Ors.[2019 SCC OnLine Gau 5584]

On December 11, 2019, the internet and mobile services were suspended for 24 hours. However, the services were not restored till December 17th, 2019. A petition was filed to allow the restoration of internet services. The Gauhati High Court directed the Governments of Centre and Assam to consider restoring mobile internet services from 3 PM.

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Nov. 10, 2020

PIL 78/2019
The petition, filed in the High Court of Calcutta, challenged the ban on access to internet during the Madhyamik exams. The matter is yet to be listed for hearing.

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Nov. 10, 2020

Case: Software Freedom Law Center, India vs. State of West Bengal [W.P. No. 5245 of 2020]

The petition was filed in the High Court of Calcutta. In May 2020, internet services were cut off in some parts of Hoogli district in West Bengal, following communal riots. It was found that the internet had been suspended using Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. The matter was last listed for its hearing on May 22, 2020.

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Sept. 19, 2020

Case: Fahima Shireen v. State of Kerala [WP (C) No. 19716 of 2019 (L)]

The petitioner, a female student was not allowed to user her mobile phone or laptop in the girls’ hostel from 10:00 pm to 6:00 pm. When she raised the concern, she was asked to vacate the premises. She filed a petition against the order. The High Court of Kerala stated that such restriction is unreasonable. The order by the college authorities violates part of Article 21 i.e., right to education, right to privacy and right to access internet.

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May 5, 2020

Case: Foundation of Media Professionals v. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir [WP (C) 10817 /2020)]

The petitioners filed the plea on April 2, 2020, for the restoration of 4G mobile internet services in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. The Hon’ble Court stated that the case of cross-border terrorism cannot be ignored. However, a special committee was formed to examine the issue. 

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Jan. 10, 2020

Case: Anuradha Bhasin V. Union of India (W.P(C) no. 1031 of 2019)

Mobile and broadband Internet services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir on 4th January 2019. On 10th August 2019, A petition was moved by Anuradha Basin, the executive editor of Kashmir Times. This petition challenged the curbing of media freedom in the state. The petition claimed that the media in the erstwhile state cannot practice their profession owing to the internet as well as telecommunications shutdown in the state. A similar petition was moved by Gulam Nabi Azad seeking issuance of an appropriate writ to set aside, quash any orders, notifications, directions or circulars issued by Government of India under which all/any modes of communication have been shut down. Further an appropriate writ was asked to be issued which would immediately restore all modes of communication including mobile, internet and landline services throughout the state. so that the media could practice its profession. The Judgement in the case was delivered on 10th January 2020.You can read about our statement here and legal analysis here .

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Dec. 24, 2019

Case: v. Union of India & Ors. [WP (C) No. 13853/2019]

In December 2019, certain areas in Delhi faced internet shutdown during the Citizenship Amendment Act protests. filed a petition praying to set aside the order. On December 24, 2019, the Delhi High Court refused to exercise its powers under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. The case was disposed on 24th December 2019.

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Dec. 24, 2019

Delhi High Court’s dismissal of the Public Interest Litigation challenging Internet Shutdown in Delhi

Delhi witnessed its first ever Internet shutdown on the 19th of December, 2019. There was a petition filed by SFLC.IN in public interest challenging the Internet shutdown order issued by the DCP, Special Cell, New Delhi on 19.12.2019. SFLC.IN also sought directions to the DCP not to issue further Internet Shutdowns orders as the DCP did not have any authority to do so. The Petition was dismissed by the Delhi High Court. You can read more about it here

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Dec. 11, 2019

Banashree Gogoi v. Union of India

In this case, The Gauhati High Court ordered the immediate restoration of mobile internet services in the State of Assam on the ground there was no longer evidence of sufficient threats to public order to justify the restriction. The Court held that, while the situation was quiet, the government could not impose such needless limitations, but it might halt internet services in the public's interest and for its protection

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Sept. 20, 2019

Kerala High Court Declares ‘Right to Access Internet’ as a Fundamental Right
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. SFLC.IN intervened in the case. You can read about it here and here

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Nov. 20, 2018

Case: Dhirendra Singh Rajpurohit V. State of Rajasthan [CW/10304/ 2018]

Public Interest Litigation was filed before the Jodhpur High Court challenging State Government of Rajasthan's orders of imposing internet shutdowns. These shutdowns were ordered to prevent cheating in examinations on more than two occasions in 2018.Home Department of Rajasthan submitted an affidavit stating that the suspension of Internet services for conducting examinations does not fall in the ambit of public safety or public emergency as provided under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules, 2017. The division bench comprising Justice Sangeeta Lodha and Justice Dinesh Mehta disposed off the matter, on Wednesday, 28th November 2018. View our post on the public interest litigation here .

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Sept. 15, 2015

Case: Gaurav Sureshbhai Vyas v. State of Gujarat [ W.P. (PIL) No. 191 of 2015]

In this case the practice of invoking Section 144 to impose Internet shutdowns was challenged. Petitioner argued that instead of blanket ban under Section 144 of CrPC, Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 should be used to block specific social media websites which contain inflammatory messages to incite violence. The court held that the state government is a competent authority under this provision and has the rightful authority in times of emergency, to decide to block entire mobile Internet services, failing which, the situation could worsen. The State government has the discretion to exercise this power with prudence, public duty and the sufficiency of action in their view.Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging the order of the Gujarat High Court in the case of Gaurav Sureshbhai Vyas v. State of Gujarat was dismissed by the Supreme Court in February 2016. Read here .

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July 19, 1988

Case: Odyssey Communications Pvt. Ltd. v. Lokvidayan Sanghatana [(1988) 3 SCC 410]

Article 19(1)(a) guarantees freedom of speech and expression through the internet. If any restriction is placed on such freedom, it should be in consonance with Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India. This case was decided on July 19, 1988.

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