New Delhi

The SC on Thursday questioned the Centre and the J&K administration on their failure to set up a special panel to review the ban on the 4G Internet and mobile phone services in J&K, as ordered by it on May 11, and sought a reply within a week, without issuing a formal notice.

The Bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai sought a detailed response from both on a contempt petition filed on June 9 by the Noida-based NGO Foundation of Media Professionals for the wilful non-compliance of the Apex Court's order on its petition. The cases is listed tentatively on July 24.

The NGO, which also sought interim relief of immediate restoration of 4G internet lying shut in J&K since August 5, complained that neither the special committee was constituted nor any order placed in public record for reviewing the internet restrictions and it got no response to two prayers made by it on May 16 and 28 to comply with the Court's order. Its lawyer said the orders are not being published and so they cannot be challenged before the court.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi told the court the medical facilities continue to suffer in the Union territory and children are unable to take the online classes due to slow internet speed. “What entire country enjoys, only this state cannot. This directly infringes Article 21(the right to life and liberty)," he said.

On Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the J&K administration, claiming a high-power panel to review the ban on 4G internet in Kashmir has been already set up, the SC said compliance of the orders given in May requires its publication in the public domain.

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Free Press Journal