August 2020
8:18 PM IST
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66 players opt out of NFL season due to coronavirus pandemic        London Marathon to feature only elite runners, unique route        Rupee edges 4 paise lower to 74.98 against US dollar in early deals        Vodafone Idea shares plunge nearly 8 pc on Q1 loss        UN reports sharp increase in cybercrime during pandemic        Trump signs executive orders banning Chinese apps TikTok & Wechat        Trust for building mosque on five-acre land in Ayodhya in process of setting up office        Pak shells forward areas in Poonch        Centre releases Rs 890 cr as 2nd tranche of package for COVID-19 health system preparedness        17 killed as Air India Express flight overshoots runway in heavy rains in Kozhikode in Kerala; both pilots among the dead        Serum Institute to produce up to 100 mn COVID-19 vaccine doses for India, other countries        Asthma in Kids—Know it Better        India''s COVID-19 recovery rate rises to 67.62 pc; case fatality rate drops to 2.07 pc: Govt        Eight COVID-19 patients killed in fire at Ahmedabad hospital        Chemical stored in Chennai safe, to be e-auctioned: Customs        India hits out at China for attempting to raise Kashmir issue at UNSC        1298 fresh COVID-19 cases in Kerala, death toll climbs to 97        Heavy rains pound Kerala''s northern districts; river in spate        Sri Lanka election: Early results show Rajapaksa clan heading for landslide win        Vivo suspend IPL partnership for one year; may resume in 2021        
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Kerala News
Internet shut down in J-K cannot be indefinite, says SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday said complete suspension of telecom and internet services indefinitely is impermissible and directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review "forthwith" all the orders suspending them. Restrictions contemplated under Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017 are temporary in nature and any order suspending internet must adhere to the principle of proportionality and must not extend beyond necessary duration, the top court said.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhas Reddy and B R Gavai said: "The existing Suspension Rules neither provide for a periodic review nor a time limitation for an order issued under the Suspension Rules. Till this gap is filled, we direct that the Review Committee constituted under Rule 2(5) of the Suspension Rules must conduct a periodic review within seven working days of the previous review, in terms of the requirements under Rule 2(6)". The apex court''s verdict came on a plea by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin, who have challenged the restrictions imposed in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution.

"An order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017," it said. The bench said orders which are not in accordance with the law laid must be revoked and in future, if there is a necessity to pass fresh orders, the law laid down must be followed. It also directed the administration to consider forthwith allowing government websites, localized/limited e-­banking facilities, hospitals services and other essential services, in those regions, wherein the internet services are not likely to be restored immediately.

The bench said, "We think it necessary to reiterate that complete broad suspension of telecom services, be it the Internet or otherwise, being a drastic measure, must be considered by the State only if ''necessary'' and ''unavoidable". In furtherance of the same, the State must assess the existence of an alternate less intrusive remedy". It said that the Suspension Rules lay down certain safeguards, keeping in mind the fact that an action under the same has a large effect on the fundamental rights of citizens.

"The appropriate balancing of the factors differs, when considering the stages of emergency and accordingly, the authorities are required to triangulate the necessity of imposition of such restriction after satisfying the proportionality requirement," it said. The top court also voiced concern over Suspension Rules not providing for publication or notification of the orders and said it is a settled principle of law, and of natural justice, that an order, particularly one that affects lives, liberty and property of people, must be made available. "Any law which demands compliance of the people requires to be notified directly and reliably.

This is the case regardless of whether the parent statute or rule prescribes the same or not. We are therefore required to read in the requirement of ensuring that all the orders passed under the Suspension Rules are made freely available, through some suitable mechanism," it said. The top court said that if the orders are made public, the aggrieved or affected party can challenge them in appropriate forum as it is their constitutional right. "An aggrieved person has the constitutional right to challenge the orders made under the Suspension Rules, before the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution or other appropriate forum", it said and directed that all the procedural safeguards are followed by the authorities.

Suspension Rules have certain gaps, which are required to be considered by the legislature, it said. Highlighting one of the gaps, the bench said that though Suspension Rules use word "temporary", there is no indication of the maximum duration for which a suspension order can be in operation.

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