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Right To Access Internet Is A Fundamental Right

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  • Right to access internet is a fundamental right- Kerala becomes first state to have it’s own internet service
  • Kerala has now become the first and only state in the country to have its own internet service.
  • The announcement came in the wake of the Kerala Fiber Optic Network Ltd, an ambitious IT infrastructure project of the government to make the internet accessible to everyone in the state, receiving the Internet Service Provider (ISP) license from the Department of Telecommunications.
  • The KFON scheme is envisaged to provide free internet to BPL families and 30,000 government offices.
  • Anuradha Bhasin Judgement- The Supreme Court has declared access to internet a fundamental right. A government cannot deprive the citizens of fundamental rights except under certain conditions explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. The ruling came on hearing of a plea in connection with Internet blockade in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 — in the view of revoking of Article 370 in the Union Territory.
  • Faheema Shirin v. State of Kerala- This judgement builds on a Kerala High Court judgment that declared the right to the Internet a fundamental right. In India, Kerala had become the first state in 2017 to declare access to Internet “a basic human right”.
  • The High Court Bench of Justice PV Asha was hearing a petition filed by a student against restrictions on the use of mobile phones inside the girls’ hostel.
  • The High Court had noted that the Supreme Court had held that the fundamental freedom under Article 19(1)(a) can be reasonably restricted only for the purposes mentioned in Article 19(2) “It was held that freedom of expression cannot be suppressed on account of threat of demonstration and processions or threats of violence which would tantamount to negation of the rule of law and the surrender to blackmail and intimidation,” the High Court judgment had read.
  • The Supreme Court refrained from the view on declaring the right to access the Internet as a fundamental right but still went on to make the Internet as an integral part of the freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution.
  • SC noted that the Internet as a medium is a major means of information diffusion and that freedom to receive information is vital to expression.
  • It has also pointed out that in a globalised world, restricting the Internet was to restrict the freedom to trade and commerce, protected by Article 19(1)(g).
  • The Supreme Court ruling is also in sync with the United Nations recommendation that every country should make access to Internet a fundamental right.
  • Any restrictions on freedoms guaranteed under Article 19, would have to be in accordance with the reasonable restrictions.
  • SC emphatically stated that the powers under this section “cannot be used to suppress the legitimate expression of opinion or grievance or exercise of any democratic rights”




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