Editorial Analysis for 18th August 2020

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Judicial remedies for the J&K net restrictions


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.


  • In response to the Supreme Court of India’s stern approach in the recent hearing on August 7, the Central government has agreed to restore Internet in two districts on a trial basis.
  • While this is a welcome step, the fundamental rights of the people of J&K will truly only have meaning if the Supreme Court maintains this stern approach and assesses the proportionality of the State’s restrictions, and is willing to grant an effective remedy where disproportionate restrictions are identified.


  • Following the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370,the government had suspended telecom and Internet services in the valley since August 5th, 2019.
  • The government claimed that the move was taken amid apprehensions that vested interests might misuse the internet-enabled social media platforms for instigating violence in the valley. The government had cited the extensive reach and impact of the Internet as a mediumin order to restrict it. The government had defended its move for a blanket suspension of Internet services in the valley citing the lack of technology to allow selective online access.
  • Given the importance of the Internet in the present system, the shutdown in the valley has impacted the lives of the people and the economy of the valley. Petitioners Anuradha Bhasin, Kashmir Times editor and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had claimed that the government’s shutdown of Internet and telecom services had cut off Kashmir from the rest of the world.
  • The move to impose internet suspension in the valley was challenged in the Supreme Court. A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Justice N.V. Ramana, has come out with its verdict in the case.

Special Rapporteur:

  • The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expressionis required to submit a report annually to the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.
  • It contains recommendations to Member States and other stakeholders on ways and means to better promote and protect the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
  • Special rapporteur is the title given to individuals working on behalf of the United Nations (UN) within the scope of “special procedure” mechanisms who have a specific country or thematic mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression of the United Nations in a joint declaration with representatives of other regional organisations, had pointed out that neither the slowing nor the shutting down of the Internet is justifiable even on national security grounds, given that such Internet shutdowns or slowdowns adversely affects millions of innocent civilians owing to the actions of a few.

Right of judicial review:

  • Judicial review – Power of the courts of a country to examine the actions of the legislative, executive, and administrative arms of the government and to determine whether such actions are consistent with the constitution. Actions judged inconsistent are declared unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void.
  • Article 13 and Article 32 of the Indian Constitutionprovide for judicial review.


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