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The Right to have Internet Access
Dr. KS Raghavan Bookmark and Share

     Yesterday (Dec. 31) I read an article in “The Hindu” by Jayna Kothari titled “Guarantee Internet Rights”.  This can be read at

The article is recommended reading.

      Almost coincidentally Jammu and Kashmir authorities have taken action to restore SMS in the entire valley and also broadband internet in all government run hospitals. However, as of today, over 25 lakh prepaid mobile phones and mobile internet services needed for messaging services such as WhatsApp continue to remain deactivated.

        As per Jayna Kothari’s article there have been about one hundred instances of internet shutdown in different parts of India during the year gone by. During the recent protests in various parts of the country against CAA, mobile and broadband internet services were shut down in Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka. Authorities concerned have taken such actions in the larger public interest. But the authorities should not overlook the fact that internet services are a lifeline to people in all walks of life. During the recent times internet has become much more than simply being source of information and communication and access to social media. Establishments such as Ola, Uber, Swiggy, Amazon and their customers depend on internet for livelihood as well as day-to-day needs. It is also a mode of access to education for students taking examinations online. All the widely used cashless transactions like PAYTM, PHONEPE dpend on internet to be operational. Such consumer-friendly services available to citizens are almost endless.

       Authorities need to take cognizance of the aforesaid facts and think twice before taking the drastic action of denying internet facilities to the citizens. Power to shut down internet should not be a trump card in the hands of authorities concerned.

       Jayna Kothari concludes her article by saying “It is time that we recognise that the right to access to the Internet is indeed a fundamental right within our constitutional guarantees.

I am of the opinion that her assertions make sense.

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Comment Good Raghu.

01/09/2020 23:51 PM

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