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SC asks Centre, Jammu and Kashmir to file reply on plea seeking 4G restoration

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New Delhi, 21 Apr, 2020

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central government and Jammu and Kashmir administration to file its detailed response on a petition seeking restoration of 4G mobile internet services in the Union Territory.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana asked the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration to get information about the ground reality in the Union Territory and file a detailed affidavit by Sunday. The matter was scheduled for further hearing on Monday.

During the hearing held through video conferencing, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that restoration of 4G internet is a question of national security. “It is a very serious issue. Militancy is still there. When a militant was recently killed, about 500 people came for the funeral. They are being made into martyrs. There are serious issues in J&K. It’s a question of national security,” Venugopal said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought more time to file an affidavit in the matter saying there are some communication and other issues.

Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner, said that a notice was issued on 10 April in the matter adding that the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration could have filed a response by now. “Still, if they need some more time, please ask them to do it expeditiously,” Ahmadi said.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO named Foundation for Media Professionals, seeking its directions for the restoration of 4G mobile internet services in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the country-wide lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Notably, internet services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir in August last year after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. While 2G services on postpaid mobile phones and broadband have been restored, 4G services still remain suspended.

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