The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 21 March, agreed to list a petition challenging internet shutdowns across the country.
"These particular states, the states that we have impleaded – West Bengal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh – they have a recurrent issue of imposing internet shut downs when it comes to cheating in exams. The point of us coming to the Supreme Court is so that pan India directions can be issued. Counter affidavit was also filed by the Union," the counsel representing the petitioner Software Freedom Law Centre, India (SFLC) said.
The counsel further argued that internet shutdowns are a pan-India concern. It was also pointed out to a bench of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justices PS Narasimha, and JB Pardiwala that the reason why this petition was different from previous ones was because this was concerned with the issue from across the country.
The apex court had previously refused to entertain a petition which questioned internet shutdowns in Rajasthan alone. The top court had contended that the petitioner should have approached the Rajasthan High Court under Article 226.
Meanwhile, CJI DY Chandrachud asked if there was a standard procedure or rules which were adhered to for internet shut downs and was told that that according to the counter affidavit filed by the Ministry of Communication, Suspension Rules were applicable in such cases.
The bench has agreed to take up the case since it concerned a pan-India issue and has listed it after three weeks on a non-miscellaneous day.
(With inputs from LiveLaw)