Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Rights Issues Mains Syllabus : GS-II Indian Constitution- Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.

Why in News?

  • The shutting down of the Internet in Delhi and several States as a response to growing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, is unsophisticated and deeply damaging to social life and the economy.

What is the Issue?

  • After protests against the CAA began, few States are experiencing shutdowns, and the fate of connectivity is being decided by officers empowered by the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, or Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • Meghalaya, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh were entirely cut off, and parts of Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh were deprived of Internet access
  • A disruption is an extreme measure, and should be countenanced only for a specific threat and as an interim measure as official communications fill the information vacuum.
  • A case in point is the spreading of rumours on child lifters on social media, which resulted in several lynchings.
  • The net blackout of the kind being witnessed now, however, has little to do with rumours, and is clearly aimed at muzzling the protests.

What are its Implications?

  • Internet connectivity ban breaks the communication between the government and the citizens.
  • Furthermore, it also hampers the normal conduct of business in the region such as start-up business, digital transactions etc.
  • Holding access to internet also affects theobservance of Fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.
  • In one of the observations, the High Court of Kerala observed that internet access cannot be curtailed on arbitrary grounds.
  • Such arbitrary internet ban also affects the Image of Indian democracy.
  • Holding internet access should be done based on credible and actionable threats rather than on Arbitrary Grounds.

 

 

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