Policy Tracker

The Policy Tracker aims to track all major developments that have been taking place in the field of Internet shutdowns in India. These include questions asked in the parliament, modifications, introduction of any policy and law on Internet shutdowns as well as information around significant colations.

June 13, 2021

G7 and Guest Countries: 2021 'Open Societies' Statement

India, along with the countries of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, the United States of America and the European Union signed the 2021 G7 ‘open societies’ joint statement, which encourages values such as “freedom of expression, both online and offline, as a freedom that safeguards democracy and helps people live free from fear and oppression.”

The joint statement further read: “We are at a critical juncture, facing threats to freedom and democracy from rising authoritarianism, electoral interference, corruption, economic coercion, manipulation of information, including disinformation, online harms and cyber attacks, politically motivated internet shutdowns, human rights violations and abuses, terrorism and violent extremism.”

The “open societies” statement also affirmed “human rights for all, both online and offline, as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments, and opposition to any form of discrimination, so that everyone can participate fully and equally in society”.



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March 18, 2021

Internet Shutdown Question – Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2573

Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2573 (Dated: 18th March, 2021 by MP Anand Sharma): (a) the number of forced internet shutdowns due to security reasons introduced in India between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, State-wise; (b) the reasons for these shutdowns and their duration; (c) whether Government is aware of reports that India is among the most frequent implementors of internet shutdowns in the world and the largest democracy to frequently do so; and (d) if so, whether Government is formulating a consistent policy to regulate these shutdowns and allow bona fide persons/ businesses to access internet for professional/ education reasons?

Answer: MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, EDUCATION AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE): (a) & (b) Police and public order are state subjects as per seventh schedule of the Constitution. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 on 07.08.2017 under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 under which, the directions to suspend the telecom services, including internet in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary or Home Secretary of State Government concerned as the case may be, to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the said rules. Ministry of Home affairs (MHA) has informed that no centralized database in this regard is maintained by them. MHA has further informed that during the year 2020 it has not issued any order for suspension of internet services; (c) & (d) No such authentic information is available with DoT.



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March 17, 2021

Internet Shutdown Question – Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 3453

Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 3453 (Dated: 17th March 2021 by MP Rajmohan Unnithan): Whether the Government has any plan to frame a legislation to regulate internet shutdown in the country and if so, the details thereof?

Answer: MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, EDUCATION AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE) At present, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has no such plan to frame a legislation to regulate internet shutdown in the country. However, it is intimated that in order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, DoT notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017 under section 7 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency & Public Safety) Rules, 2017 has been amended vide Gazette Notification dated 10.11.2020.



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March 10, 2021

Internet Shutdown Question – Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1791

Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1791 (Dated: 10th March 2021 by MP Tiruchi Siva): (a) the methodology of Government to control fake news and misinformation during tensions and riots, whether internet shutdowns are a prescribed method; and (b) the kind of data being maintained on internet shutdowns in India, the details thereof?

Answer:  MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS (SHRI G. KISHAN REDDY): (a) & (b): Challenges of cyber space are many, which flow from its vastness and borderless characters. Information in cyber space flows fast and has potential of misuse. During tensions and riots, suspension of telecom services / internet shutdown is done by the appropriate authorities in the States / UTs concerned in the interest of maintaining public safety and averting public emergency, as per procedures defined in the ‘Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Amendment) Rules, 2020’. Centralized data of internet shutdown is not maintained by the Ministry of Home affairs. Orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are available at MHA website.



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Nov. 10, 2020

Joint Statement and Accompanying Good Practices for Government on State-Sponsored Network Disruptions by Freedom Online Coalition
FOC issued a joint statement expressing deep concern over the growing trend of intentional state-sponsored disruptions of access to or dissemination of information online. It was accompanied by a document outlining good practices for Governments, encouraging them to refrain from network disruptions which stifle exercise of the freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly online. Link - https://www.freedomonlinecoalition.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/FOC-Joint-Statement-on-State-Sponsored-Network-Disruptions.pdf

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Nov. 10, 2020

Internet shutdowns cost countries $2.4 billion last year
Internet shutdowns not only disrupt access to information online but has wider implications. This report, published by the Brooking Institution looks into the huge economic losses suffered by the countries as a result of internet shutdowns and its detrimental impact on the economic activities and growth of the nations. Link - https://internetshutdowns.in/research

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Nov. 10, 2020

#KeepItOn
#KeepItOn is a campaign launched by Access Now against internet shutdowns worldwide. Several organisations across the world, including SFLC.IN, have joined this campaign in their mission to fight and push back internet shutdowns.

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Nov. 10, 2020

Campaigning and public opinion

We have been vociferous in our campaign against internet shutdowns in the domestic and international sphere. As a member of the Keep It On campaign led by Access Now, we strive to fight internet shutdowns with all kinds of creative approaches, including grassroots advocacy, direct policy-maker engagement, technical support, and legal intervention. As part of the Keep it on Coalition, SFLC.in has actively participated in campaigning against shutdowns not only in India but across the world, we have signed various petitions as well as participated in strategy suggestions to end shutdowns. SFLC.in sent a collective statement signed by 27 organizations across the world to restore high speed internet access in Jammu and Kashmir in midst of a pandemic.



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Nov. 10, 2020

Community work

We conducted three community meetings in the following States: 1. Kolkata 2. Symbiosis Law School, Pune 3. Lawyer’s circle, Rajasthan The minutes of the meetings will be made available upon request. These meetings happened before the coronavirus pandemic. Due to Coronavirus pandemic, offline meetings had to be paused. Due to the demographic we have been targeting, online meetings pose to be a challenge. To overcome this, we have had our research assistants circulate Whatsapp messages, have small meetings through phone and video calls in their circles. The research assistants have been trained to give trainings in local language to their audience on the impacts of internet shutdowns, how to report internet shutdowns, what to do during an internet shutdown etc. We are hoping to circulate some films translated into local languages to increase awareness of internet shutdowns.



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Nov. 10, 2020

Compendium of stories

We have voices and stories from the following places: 1. Delhi 2. West Bengal 3. Meghalaya 4. Bhopal 5. Uttar Pradesh 6. Rajasthan 7. Jammu and Kashmir These voices and stories have been collected and complied with the help of research assistants. The relevant links are https://internetshutdowns.in/lost-voices, https://sflc.in/using-2g-fight-pandemic-digital-world and https://twitter.com/NetShutdowns/media. All the videos are available at https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/17AEUk71qtfTysDMJXOD8DUQFBcxbaAP3. They are in the process of being uploaded on YouTube.



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March 31, 2020

Open Letter to Government of Jammu and Kashmir for restoring 4G internet speed in wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

SFLC.in wrote an open letter to the Principle Secretary of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir as well as the Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah requesting them to restore 4G internet speed in Jammu and Kashmir.COVID-19 is an unprecedented pandemic which has resulted in public health chaos. As of 31st March 2020, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir has reached 55. There is a severe lack of information among the citizens in Jammu and Kashmir owning to the fact that information cannot be accessed without proper internet.We have requested the government in our letter to consider these extraordinary circumstances and restore 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir on an urgent basis.You can read more about it here .



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March 19, 2020

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2897

Unstarred Question No. 2897 19 March, 2020 (a) whether it is a fact that the number of internet shutdowns in the country have increased during the last few years; (b) if so, the State-wise details of the number of internet shutdowns in the country in the last five years including the current year; (c) whether Government proposes a legislation in order to limit the powers of the State with regard to scrapping of internet services under the garb of section 144 of IPC; and (d) if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE) (a) & (b) In order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including that of internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary in case of Central Government or the State Home Secretary in case of State Government, due to public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) granted permission to Delhi Police for temporary shutdown of telecom services in certain parts of Delhi on 19th and 20th December, 2019, under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by either DoT or MHA. (c) & (d) There is no such proposal with the Ministry of Home Affairs.



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March 18, 2020

Internet Shutdown Questions - Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 3982

Unstarred Question No. 382 (18 March, 2020) (a) the number of instances of internet shutdowns imposed in the country during each of the last three years, State/UT-wise along with the reasons therefor; (b)whether the Government is aware of the difficulties faced by general public and professionals including journalists and employees of technology companies and beneficiaries of internet enabled services seeking digitally signed documents due to prolonged internet shutdowns in Kashmir; (c)if so, the details thereof and the reaction of the Government thereto; and (d)the steps taken by the Government to review the conditions enabling the reversing of internet shutdown by the competent authorities? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE) (a) In order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including that of internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary in case of Central Government or the State Home Secretary in case of State Government, due to public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) granted permission to Delhi Police for temporary shutdown of telecom services in certain parts of Delhi on 19th and 20th December, 2019, under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by either DoT or MHA. (b)&(c)Conscious of the requirements and difficulties likely to be faced by the general public and professionals including journalists etc., due to measures taken for safeguarding the sovereignty and integrity of India, the Security of the State, maintaining public order and forprevention of loss of human life and property, the Government took various steps, which among other things included provision of internet facility at the offices of the all the Deputy Commissioners and other designated places/Dak Bunglows, access to internet through e-kiosks and special counters at prominent hotels/offices of District Srinagar, Anantnag (Pahalgam), Baramulla (Gulmarg) and Ganderbal (Sonamarg), etc. The banking sector also continued to render the services to their customers. E-banking facilities were provided to designated branches of various banks. Media Facilitation Centre was established and equipped with all the facilities to provide the uninterrupted internet services to the journalists, facilitating them to provide un-regulated coverage. At present, the telecom services are being regulated in accordance with the principles laid down in the judgement dated 10.01.2020, passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in WP(C) No. 1031/2019 titled Anuradha Bhasin vs. UOI and others and the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Rules made thereunder. Due care is being taken to ensure that the orders are issued only after satisfying the principle of proportionality-after due consideration of the various aspects viz, nature of urgency, goal intended to be achieved, existence of any alternate mechanism, necessity of the measure intending at imposing restrictions, assessment of all the available alternatives for implementation of least restrictive measure. (d)The orders issued by the competent authority to the effect of regulating the use of telecom services are being reviewed periodically to ascertain that the same are being issued as per the principles laid down in the said judgment dated 10.01.2020 of Hon’ble Supreme court in the WP(C) no. 1031/2019 and 1164/2019 and in terms of the provisions of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017.



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March 13, 2020

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question no. 217

Unstarred Question No. 13 March, 2020 (a)whether e-Commerce companies have seen economic losses due to internet shutdown in different parts of the country; (b) whether Government has estimated the same and if so, the details thereof; and (c) if not, whether Government plans to estimate the impact of internet shutdowns on Commerce companies? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (SHRI PIYUSH GOYAL) (a) to (c): A Statement is laid on the Table of the House.



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Feb. 6, 2020

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 496

Unstarred Question No. 496 (6 February 2020) (a) the state of the digitalised India where internet services have been banned during last one year, the week-wise and month-wise details thereof; (b) whether any assessment has been conducted regarding the financial loss caused by the ban put on internet services; and (c) the details of the impact on online services as a result of ban put on internet during last one year? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE) (a) In order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including that of internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary in case of Central Government or the State Home Secretary in case of State Government, due to public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) granted permission to Delhi Police for temporary shutdown of telecom services in certain parts of Delhi on 19th and 20th December, 2019, under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by either DoT or MHA. (b) DoT has not conducted any assessment regarding the financial loss caused bythe ban put on internet services. However, DoT had received a joint representation dated 08.08.2018 from telecom service providers, wherein, it was intimated that frequent suspension of internet services were being ordered by various State Governments. Accordingly, on 28.09.2018, all State Governments have been advised to sensitize the concerned officials/agencies against precipitate actions leading to shut down of Internet services, and to ensure that the provisions of “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” are adhered to. (c) In temporary shutdown of internet services in a region, online services are suspended temporarily only and other communication means/services like voice calling and Short Message Service (SMS) remain available during the suspension period of internet services, through which people in the region can communicate.



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Feb. 6, 2020

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 507

Unstarred Question No. 507 February 6 2020 (a) the State-wise details of the number of hours for which internet was banned in the country in the year 2019; (b) the details of the estimated amount of loss to the economy by banning the internet services; and (c) the details of the total loss incurred by the mobile companies per day because of ban on internet services? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE) (a) In order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including that of internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary in case of Central Government or the State Home Secretary in case of State Government, due to public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) granted permission to Delhi Police for temporary shutdown of telecom services in certain parts of Delhi on 19th and 20th December, 2019, under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by either DoT or MHA. (b) DoT has not undertaken any evaluation or study to estimate the loss to the economy due to ban of internet services. (c) Telecom companies have not reported any quantum of loss incurred by them due to the internet shutdowns.



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Feb. 6, 2020

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 510

Unstarred Question No. 510 (6 February 2020) (a) how many times have internet shutdowns been initiated by Government in the last five years, year-wise and State-wise data thereof; (b) what is the loss suffered by telecom companies due to these shutdowns, the details thereof; and (c) whether Government has taken any steps to compensate the telecom companies for the losses suffered by them due to internet shutdowns, if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE) (a) In order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including that of internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary in case of Central Government or the State Home Secretary in case of State Government, due to public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) granted permission to Delhi Police for temporary shutdown of telecom services in certain parts of Delhi on 19th and 20th December, 2019, under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. However, it was exercised only on 19thDecember, 2019. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by either DoT or MHA. (b) & (c) Telecom companies have not reported any quantum of loss incurred by them due to the internet shutdowns.



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Feb. 6, 2020

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 511

Unstarred Question No. 511 (6 February 2020) (a) how many times have internet shutdowns been initiated by Government in the last five years, year wise and State-wise data thereof; (b) what are the rules and procedures for initiating an internet shutdown, the details thereof; and (c) under which circumstance can an internet shutdown be initiated by Government and for how long, whether the necessity for continuing the shutdown is monitored, if so, at what intervals and by whom? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE) (a) to (c) In order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including that of internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary in case of Central Government or the State Home Secretary in case of State Government, due to public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) granted permission to Delhi Police for temporary shutdown of telecom services in certain parts of Delhi on 19th and 20th December, 2019, under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. However, it was exercised only on 19th December 2019. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by either DoT or MHA. The initiation and subsequent withdrawal of an order for the internet shutdown is issued by the Central Government or the concerned State Government taking into consideration the public emergency or public safety. All such orders are being reviewed by the Review Committee as envisaged in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 within 5 working days of issuance of such order.



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Feb. 6, 2020

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 600

Unstarred Question No. 600 (6 February, 2020) (a) the details of cases of internet shutdown during the last five years, State-wise and year-wises; (b) whether it is a fact that the cases of internet shutdown for longer duration has increased in last 2-3 years; (c) whether Government has conducted any study or has any report on the effect of internet shut down on economy, tourism, education sector etc.; (d) if so, the details thereof; (e) whether Government has any plan to make any policy change for taking decision on internet shutdown in any particular area; and (f) if so, the details thereof? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS, HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND ELECTRONICS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI SANJAY DHOTRE) (a) & (b) In order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including that of internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary in case of Central Government or the State Home Secretary in case of State Government, due to public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) granted permission to Delhi Police for temporary shutdown of telecom services in certain parts of Delhi on 19th and 20th December, 2019, under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by either DoT or MHA. (c) & (d) No, DoT has not conducted any study on the effect of internet shutdown on economy, tourism, education sector etc. However, DoT had received a joint representation dated 08.08.2018 from telecom service providers, wherein, it was intimated that frequent suspension of internet services were being ordered by various State Governments. Accordingly, on 28.09.2018, all State Governments have been advised to sensitize the concerned officials/agencies against precipitate actions leading to shut down of Internet services, and to ensure that the provisions of “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” are adhered to. (e) & (f) Temporary suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency & Public Safety) Rules, 2017 will be reviewed in consultation with all the stakeholders in light of the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment dated 10.01.2020 in W.P. (C) 1031/2019 and 1164/2019.



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Dec. 4, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1660

Unstarred Question No. 1660 (4 December 2019) (a) whether the Government proposes to make facility like internet a fundamental right and if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor along with the time by when it is likely to be done; and (b) the number of Gram Panchayats in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh that have been connected with optical fibre under the BharatNet Project? ANSWER MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, LAW & JUSTICE AND ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD) (a) Presently, there is no proposal to make facility like internet a fundamental right. (b) A total of 518 Gram Panchayats in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh have been connected with optical fibre under the BharatNet Project



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Nov. 21, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 498

Unstarred Question No. 498 (21 November 2019) (a) the number of internet shutdowns in the country in the last three years; (b) the details thereof, State-wise and duration-wise; (c) whether the Ministry has taken any steps to ensure that people have access to emergency communication services during internet shutdowns and if so, the details thereof; and (d) whether the Ministry has undertaken any evaluation or study to assess the economic impact of internet shutdowns? ANSWER MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, LAW & JUSTICE AND ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD) (a) & (b) Central Government has not issued any order of internet shutdown under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by Department of Telecommunications (DoT). (c) In temporary shutdown of internet services in a region, internet/data services are suspended temporarily only and other communication means/services like voice calling and Short Message Service (SMS), remain available during the suspension period of internet services, through which people in the region can communicate. (d) No Sir, DoT has not undertaken any evaluation or study to assess the economic impacts of internet shutdowns. However, DoT had received a joint representation dated 08.08.2018 from telecom service providers, wherein, it was intimated that frequent suspension of internet services were being ordered by various State Governments. Accordingly, on 28.09.2018, all State Governments have been advised to sensitize the concerned officials/agencies against precipitate actions leading to shut down of Internet services, and to ensure that the provisions of “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” are adhered to.



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June 27, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 632

Unstarred Question No. 632 27 June, 2019 (a) the details of cases of internet shutdowns during the last three years, year-wise; (b) the alternative steps taken to provide internet connectivity to students applying for or appearing in examinations; and (c) whether the number of shutdowns for longer duration are increasing and if so, the reasons therefor? ANSWER MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, LAW & JUSTICE AND ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI RAVI SHANKAR PRASAD) (a) to (c) Central Government has not issued any order of internet shutdown under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by the Department of Telecommunications. DoT had received a joint representation dated 08.08.2018 from telecom service providers, wherein it was intimated that frequent suspension of internet services were being ordered by State Governments. Accordingly, on 28.09.2018, all State Governments have been advised to sensitize the concerned officials/agencies against precipitate actions leading to shut down of Internet services, and to ensure that the provisions of “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” are adhered to. In temporary shutdown of internet services in a region, only internet/data services are suspended temporarily, and other communication means/services like voice calling and Short Message Service (SMS) remain available during the suspension period of internet services, through which people in the region can communicate.



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Feb. 13, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1660
Unstarred Question No. 1660 (13 February 2019) (a) the year-wise details of cases of Internet shutdowns in the past five years where the duration was more than seven days; (b) the alternative steps that were taken to provide connectivity to students applying for or appearing in exams; and (c) whether the number of shutdowns for longer duration are increasing and if so, the reasons therefor? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) to (c) Central Government has not issued any order of internet shutdown under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by the Department of Telecommunications. DoT had received a joint representation dated 08.08.2018 from telecom service providers, wherein it was intimated that frequent suspension of internet services were being ordered by State Governments. Accordingly, on 28.09.2018, all State Governments have been advised to sensitize the concerned officials/agencies against precipitate actions leading to shut down of Internet services, and to ensure that the provisions of “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” are adhered to. In temporary shutdown of internet services in a region, only internet/data services are suspended temporarily, and other communication means/services like voice calling and Short Message Service (SMS) remain available during the suspension period of internet services, through which people in the region can communicate.

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Feb. 6, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 486

Unstarred Question No. 486 (6 February 2019) (a)whether the Ministry maintains records of details pertaining to the suspension of internet services in the country during law and order situations, if so, the details thereof; (b)whether the Ministry has taken any necessary steps to ensure that people have access to emergency communication services during internet shutdowns; and (c)if so, the details thereof? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a)Central Government has not issued any order of internet shutdown under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by the Department of Telecommunications. (b)& (c) In temporary shutdown of internet services in a region, only internet/data services are suspended temporarily, and other communication means/services like voice calling and Short Message Service (SMS) remain available during the suspension period of internet services, through which people in the region can communicate and access emergency communication services.



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Feb. 6, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 489

Unstarred Question No. 489 (6 February 2019) (a) the number of partial shutdowns in the country in the past five years, where the speed of connectivity was reduced; (b) the details of the economic losses incurred due to such partial shutdowns; and (c) the number of website blockings in the past five years and the reasons therefor? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) Central Government has not issued any order of internet shutdown under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by Department of Telecommunications (DoT). (b) DoT does not assess the economic losses incurred, if any, due to such partial shutdowns. DoT had received a joint representation dated 08.08.2018 from telecom service providers, wherein it was intimated that frequent suspension of internet services were being ordered by State Governments. Accordingly, on 28.09.2018, all State Governments have been advised to sensitize the concerned officials/agencies against precipitate actions leading to shut down of Internet services, and to ensure that the provisions of “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” are adhered to. (c) As per Information Technology Act, 2000 [Section 69A] and Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public Rules 2009 made thereunder, the directions for blocking of website for access by public are issued by Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY). As per the directions of MeitY, from 01st January 2016 to date, instructions for blocking of 2354 Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) have been issued by DOT to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Further, from 01st January 2016 to date, as per the direction of Honorable Courts, instructions for blocking of 8459 URLs/websites have been issued. In addition, DOT has instructed ISPs to block 6631 URLs/websites of online child sexual abuse material as provided by Central Bureau of Investigation.



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Jan. 4, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question 2618

Unstarred Question 2618 (4 January 2019) (a) the data as regards the internet shutdowns issued by the Central or State Governments in the previous three years, State-wise and the reasons therefor; (b) whether the Ministry has recorded the impact of such internet shutdowns on the social, economic and political environment of the States, if so, the details thereof; and (c) whether the Ministry has taken any necessary steps to provide relief to the people suffering from internet shutdowns in the respective States? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) Central Government has not issued any order of internet shutdown under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by Department of Telecommunications (DoT). (b) No Sir, DoT has not assessed the impact of such internet shutdowns on the social, economic and political environment of the States. However, DoT had received a joint representation dated 08.08.2018 from telecom service providers, wherein, it was intimated that frequent suspension of internet services were being ordered by various State Governments. Accordingly, on 28.09.2018, all State Governments have been advised to sensitize the concerned officials/agencies against precipitate actions leading to shut down of Internet services, and to ensure that the provisions of “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” are adhered to. (c) In temporary shutdown of internet services in a region, internet/data services are suspended temporarily only and other communication means/services like voice calling and Short Message Service (SMS), remain available during the suspension period of internet services, through which people in the region can communicate.



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Jan. 4, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2643

Unstarred Question No. 2643 (4 January 2019) (a) whether the Ministry maintains records of details pertaining to suspension of internet services in the country during law and order situations, if so, the details thereof; (b) whether the Ministry has taken any necessary steps to ensure that people have access to emergency communication services during internet shutdowns, if so, the details thereof; and (c) if not, the reasons therefor? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) Central Government has not issued any order of internet shutdown under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by DoT. (b) & (c) In temporary shutdown of internet services in a region, internet/data services are suspended temporarily only and other communication means/services like voice calling and Short Message Service (SMS), remain available during the suspension period of internet services, through which people in the region can communicate and access emergency communication services.



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Jan. 4, 2019

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No.2642

Will the Minister of COMMUNICATIONS be pleased to state: (a) the State-wise data of internet shutdowns issued under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017; (b) whether the Ministry conducted any public or stakeholder consultations prior to the finalising and publication of these Rules; (c) if so, the details thereof, including comments and suggestions received by the Ministry and action taken therein; (d) if not, the reasons therefor; and (e) whether these Rules are different from earlier rules or laws under which internet services could be suspended, if so, the details thereof?



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Dec. 28, 2018

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1824

Unstarred Question No. 1824 (28 December 2018) (a) the list of internet shutdowns in the past five years, State-wise; (b) the steps taken by Government to engage with the States where cases of internet shutdowns are comparatively high; and (c) whether Government made any arrangement for alternative means of communication and transaction for the people in the region or not? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) Central Government has not issued any order of internet shutdown under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by Department of Telecommunications (DoT). (b) DoT had received a joint representation dated 08.08.2018 from telecom service providers, wherein, it was intimated that frequent suspension of internet services were being ordered by various State Governments. Accordingly, on 28.09.2018, all State Governments have been advised to sensitize the concerned officials/agencies against precipitate actions leading to shut down of Internet services, and to ensure that the provisions of “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” are adhered to. (c) In temporary shutdown of internet services in a region, internet/data services are suspended temporarily only and other communicating means/services like voice calling and Short Message Service (SMS), remain available during the suspension period of internet services, through which people in the region can communicate.



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Dec. 21, 2018

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1352

Unstarred Question No. 1352 (21 December 2018) (a) whether Ministry maintains data on internet shutdown ordered under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules, 2017; (b) if so, the State-wise data on internet shutdown issued since the rules came into effect, along with the date, time, duration, areas affected and corresponding reasons for the imposition of internet shutdowns; (c) if not, reasons therefor; (d) number of cases where internet shutdowns were ordered to prevent cheating in exams; (e) number of cases, State-wise, wherein internet shutdowns exceeded 24 hours; and (f) steps taken by States to publicise the order of internet shutdowns in advance and inform general public of their imposition? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) to (f) In order to streamline the process of internet shutdowns in the Country, the Department of Telecommunications notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary in case of Central Government or the State Home Secretary in case of State Government, due to public emergency or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed that it has not issued any order for temporary suspension of internet services under the provisions of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Police and public order are State subjects as per the Constitution and States are responsible for prevention, detection and investigation of crimes through their law enforcement machinery. Concerned State Governments are empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet services to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. Records related to internet shutdowns ordered by State Governments are not maintained by Department of Telecommunications.



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Dec. 19, 2018

Internet Shutdown Questions - Lok Sabha Starred Question No. 123

Starred Question No. 123 (19 December 2018) (a)Whether the Government is aware that there were 42 reported incidents of internet shutdown in 2017 as compared to 6 in 2014, and that India is one of the top-ranked countries in terms of the number of internet shutdowns by Government authorities (b)if so, the details thereof and the reasons attributed for such shutdowns; (c)Whether it is also true that the Government wants to prevent riots and hate crimes by making shutdowns of internet services and if so, the details thereof; (d)whether due process was followed in approving the said shutdowns and if so, the details thereof, State/UT-wise; and (e)whether punitive or disciplinary action was taken in cases where due process was not followed and if so, the details thereof? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) to (e) A statement is laid on the Table of the House.



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Sept. 28, 2018

Letter from Secretary, Department of Telecommunications on rise in frequency of internet shutdowns. D.O. No.: 800-37/2016-AS.II/1
The letter requested the State governments to ensure that the provisions of Temporary Suspension (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 are strictly followed.Comments:Internet shutdowns continue to be implemented for trivial reasons even though the letter specifically pointed out that frequent suspension of Internet services were being ordered by State Governments in circumstances where public emergency or public safety were not impacted.

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July 31, 2018

Member of Rajya Sabha, Husain Dalwai moved a statutory motion in Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) for annulment of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017
The motion was introduced to highlight serious drawbacks of the Rules and remedy them. The statutory motion was not taken up for business as the Rajya Sabha session ended before the discussion on the matter could take place. Read here .

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Feb. 9, 2018

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 849

Unstarred Question No. 849 (a) the details of instances where internet services were suspended 2014 onwards along with details of reasons for ordering suspension, places where it was suspended, duration of suspension and the law invoked to suspend services, State-wise and yearwise; (b) whether, in future, such suspensions will be ordered by invoking the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017; (c) if so, what consultations were held with stakeholders, civil society, etc., before finalizing these Rules; and (d) how these Rules are an improvement over the earlier rules/laws using which, internet services could be suspended? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) to (d) The Section 5 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 empowers Central/State Government, on occurrence of public emergency or in the interest of public safety, to take temporary possession of licensed telegraphs and to order interception or detention or non-transmission of messages. In pursuance of these provisions of Indian Telegraph Act and in order to streamline the process of temporary suspension of telecom services, the Department of Telecommunications has notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary or the State Home Secretary, as the case may be, due to public emergency, or in the interest of public safety. These directions are then reviewed by the Review Committee constituted in the Central or State Government under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary or Chief Secretary, as the case may be, within five working days of issue of such directions. Before finalizing these rules, inter-ministerial consultations were held with Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of Finance and NITI Aayog. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed that it does not maintain records of internet shutdowns ordered by the State Governments. Further, MHA has not exercised its power under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 till date.



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Feb. 9, 2018

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 861

Unstarred Question No. 861 (9 February 2018) (a) whether there have been a rise in the number of Government mandated internet shutdowns in the country in the last two years; (b) if so, the reasons therefor; and (c) whether internet shutdowns have helped to achieve the aims, for which the Government sought these shutdowns? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) to (c) The Section 5 of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 empowers Central/State Government, on occurrence of public emergency or in the interest of public safety, to take temporary possession of licensed telegraphs and to order interception or detention or non-transmission of messages. In pursuance to these provisions of Indian Telegraph Act, the Department of Telecommunications has notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017. As per these rules, the directions for temporary suspension of telecom services, including internet services in an area, can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary or the State Home Secretary, as the case may be, due to public emergency, or in the interest of public safety. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed that it does not maintain records of internet shutdowns ordered by the State Governments. Further, MHA has not exercised its power under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 till date.



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Jan. 5, 2018

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 2153

Unstarred Question No. 2153 (5 January 2018) (a) the details of internet shutdowns taken place in the country in the last three years under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), year-wise; and (b) the details of internet shutdowns taken place under recently released Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 in August, 2017? ANSWER THE MINISTER OF STATE (IC) OF THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS & MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS (SHRI MANOJ SINHA) (a) & (b) The information is being collected and will be laid on the Table of House.



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Dec. 29, 2017

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 1366

Unstarred Question No. 1366 (29 December 2017) (a) state/UT -wise details of ban on mobile internet services, since 2014 till date; (b) whether banning of internet services is a decision of State or Central Government or taken-up jointly, the details thereof; and (c) the details regarding the reasons for banning of mobile internet services? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI ALPHONS KANNANTHANAM) (a), (b) and (c) : The police and public order are state subjects and section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 empowers a District Magistrate, a Sub-Divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate specially empowered by the State Government to issue prohibitory orders in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger. Further, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has notified “Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017” on 07.08.2017 under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. As per these rules, the direction to suspend the telecom services including internet in an area can either be issued by the Union Home Secretary or the State Home Secretary, as the case may be, due to public emergency or public safety. Government does not maintain records of internet shutdowns ordered by the State Governments.



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Aug. 8, 2017

Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017

Rules lay down the procedure to suspend telecom services in case of public emergency or public safety. Rules also specify the competent authority empowered to issue suspension orders, require that reasons for suspension be in writing and set up a Review Committee for ensuring that shutdowns are imposed by the due process of law. Despite these Rules, internet shutdowns continue to be imposed under CrPC. Review Committee is not set up in most cases of shutdowns.The Rules suffer from many drawbacks. They were framed without public consultation. There is no official channel of communication to inform the public about imposition of shutdowns. View our analysis of the Rules here . For more information on the Rules visit the page . Also see here .



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April 7, 2017

Internet Shutdown Questions - Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 4097

Unstarred Question No. 4097 (7 April 2017) (a) how many internet shutdowns have occurred in the country during the last three years; (b) the losses incurred by Indian citizens and companies during these years; (c) whether the losses underwent huge variation in different years; and (d) whether Government has adopted any remedial measures in this regard, if so, the details thereof? ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE FOR ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (SHRI P.P. CHAUDHARY) (a) to (d): The information is being collected and will be laid on the Table of the House.



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July 1, 2016

United Nations passed a resolution condemning Internet shutdown.

The resolution condemned network disruptions and measures resorted by states to curb online access and/or dissemination of information.It affirmed that rights in the online sphere, especially the right to freedom of expression requires the same standard of protection as in the offline world. It also called upon the Member States to develop transparent internet policies, and work towards bridging the digital divide, along with the digital gender divide. Read more here



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Jan. 25, 1974

Sec 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
This Section gives State governments the power to issue orders in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger. It is a collection of procedural laws that govern how substantive crimes are to be enforced. CrPC was designed to give emergency powers to State governments and has traditionally been used to issue curfews and dismiss unlawful assemblies to curb civil unrest. Although it is not designed for Internet shutdowns, it is used by authorities to impose virtual curfews as it is less cumbersome as compared to other existing legislations. Read more here and here . Also see .

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Nov. 10, 1885

Enactment of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885
This colonial era law has been invoked multiple times to order temporary Internet service disruptions.Section 3(1AA) has a broad and future-proof definition which brings virtually any communication system, including the Internet, within the Acts purview.Section 5(2) is broadly worded and terms of imposition are not defined. These include words public emergency or in interest of public safety.Also undefined are all five additional grounds for imposition, such as sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State and others. Undefined and broadly worded terms remain open to broad interpretation by the Government. There is no objective standard to determine whether a given situation or threatens public safety. In the past, Internet shutdowns have been imposed for trivial reasons such as to prevent cheating in recruitment examinations in Rajasthan. Read more here and here .

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