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NEW DELHI, 11 August 2020, TON: High-powered special panel headed by Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and comprising other officers, including Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir submitted before the Supreme Court of India bench today that the Committee has decided that 4G internet services can be allowed on a trial basis in one district each of Jammu and Kashmir divisions
If we recall, in May 2020, the Supreme Court of India bench comprising of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai declined to pass any order on the restoration of Internet services in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the bench directed Indian Government for immediate setting up of a high-powered special panel headed by Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and comprising other officers, including Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, to decide the issue of restoring 4G internet services over there.
On 11 August 2020, Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted before a bench that the central committee would review the outcome of trial after a two-month period. The impact would also be examined by the state level committees periodically, at least once in seven working days. He, however, clarified that any opening on the trial basis should not be in any area adjoining the International Border or Line of Control. He clarified, "The area should have low intensity of terrorist activities and minimum spillover effect on neighbouring areas."
The special committee, which held its meeting on 10 August, revealed that in the given the current security scenario, both in Jammu and Kashmir and in neighbouring areas, "the overall situation is still not conducive to lifting the limited restrictions on high speed internet through mobile devices while allowing broadband and 2G across the board". However, the Special Committee was of the view that the present situation would permit a "carefully calibrated easing of some restrictions in limited and specified geographical areas which are which are comparatively less sensitive from national, internal, and border security and public order standpoint, subject to strict monitoring and periodical review". The government also maintained that internet speed-related restrictions were not posing any hindrance to COVID control measures, access to education programmes and business activities.
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