In this fast-moving world, we are bound to use the internet and connect to the world within seconds. As data is in new oil, we must know how one is protected by law in this online world. We must be aware of how the Right to the Internet plays a key role in protecting one’s freedom of speech and expression. We will discuss the Right to the Internet from different perspectives and how the Right to Internet sets in the Indian context in the following article.
1. Why the Internet is so important?
- We all have the internet at our fingertips and it is not a small thing to possess because there are 60 percent of people on Earth who do not possess the right to the internet.
• And when we look at developed nations just 1 out of 10 individuals have internet access.
• Along with this, there are a lot of nations that don’t permit their citizens to get certain data; they limit it to do so like China. However, in today’s creation, no advancement is possible without even digitalization.
2. Why Right to the Internet is of concern?
• Let us first take a look at the approaches of the authorities because of which the Right to the Internet is of concern.
• In 2016, UNHRC reported the Right to the Web ought to be made a basic right. Several Years ago like this; they requested to get a brand new right to eventually become a basic right that was the Right to Education.
• Sometimes government tries to restrict the freedom of citizens by restricting Internet Freedom arbitrarily for domestic purposes like in the case of Agriculture Bill 2020. Here, it becomes important to be aware of rights as we are doing right now.
3. Right to the Internet in the Indian context:
• So now let us discuss India’s approach towards the Internet and its rights.
• In the past 10 decades, there were approximately 400 Web shutdowns in India.
• And should we take a look from last 1 year about 4th Aug 2019 when the Indian parliament revoked Article 370 in the Constitution and divided the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories constituting Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
• And for maintaining the safety the authorities imposed section 144 which prohibits the meeting of over 5 people.
• Along with this, they did Internet Shutdown and this shutdown became the greatest internet shutdown in India.
• So Because of safety issues, on 4th Aug 2019, the services of J&K were suspended. Also, it has revived the following 213 days located on 4th March 2020.
• And that is why it’s the greatest shutdown of the Nation became the talk of the town. Both of These dates, there were important conclusions made which later on determines the new right of the Country, the Right to the Internet.
Important historical moments concerning Right to the Internet in India:
We’ll discuss three important instances:
- The First instance was of Faheema Shirin R.K. v. the State of Kerala:
In this, Faheema Shirin who was a school student, and in their woman’s hostel, were not permitted to use mobile phones from 6 PM to 10 PM as per the directions from the Principal.
• Due to limitation of this hostel of providing no internet during 6 PM to 10 PM, a case was registered in front of Justice P V Asha, a sole judge bench of the Kerala high court.
• Remembering the learning process and development of the pupils, this court generated an important judgment and stated that the Right to Get the World Wide Web is a basic right.
• Also it had been inserted using Article 21 of the ministry Right to privacy and Right to Get Web was added Regarding the Right to Education.
- Second situation was of Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India:
Currently this situation directly relates to Jammu and Kashmir
• This case had been registered on 10th January, Where the online ban was contested, which was enforced on 4th Aug 2019.
• They stated that restricting physical motion together with shutting down all the mediums of internet communication.
• It violates basic Fundament Right under Art. 19 of the Indian Constitution since the Right to Web is Part of Art. 19(1)(a).
• Supreme Court stated, as a result of immediate danger or safety issue a temporary ban on any solutions is permissible.
• However for an extended period, services can’t be suspended. The balance ought to be kept between domestic security and individual rights.
• So after the conclusion of 10th January, the lowest rate 2G net was granted in J&K.
- But following the Event of Anuradha Bhasin, yet another case was filed in court. The instance was Foundation of Media Professionals v. Union of India:
In this case, the ban on 3G and 4G net service in J&K was contested. This instance is popularly also known as the 4G case.
• In this case, they stated that such a ban on internet services entirely violates the Right to Education, Right to Profession, Right to Health, and lots of basic rights.
• Supreme Court issued instructions to restart 4G services and set up a questionnaire together with this.
• After much debate, the center directed to restart 4G services as a trial basis on restricted Regions of J&K following 15 August 2019.
• We must be aware of our Rights and Laws which can be easily done by the following platforms like LAW PLANET.
• We must understand that the Internet is very crucial for today’s Industrialized and Globalized world where people can connect by a few clicks. So, the Right to the Internet acts as support that makes the internet accessible to people with the least limitations.
• It is extremely important to keep a balance between domestic interest and individual rights.