SFLC.in wrote again to the Rajasthan Government to oppose the Internet Shutdown which was imposed to prevent cheating in Examinations.
There was a newspaper article dated 23.10.2021, published by The Times of India titled ‘Patwari Exam: Mobile internet banned in Jaipur, Dausa’ and the order dated 22.10.2021 suspending mobile internet services.
The above mentioned article stated that the Rajasthan government has suspended mobile internet services on 23rd October 2021 in the district of Jaipur and Dausa. The internet services will remain suspended from 6 am to 6 pm.
The said order stated that internet services shall remain suspended on 23rd October and 24th October 2021 in the district of Bikaner, Shri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh. The services will be suspended from 6 am to 6 pm on each day. The reason that has been stated for the same is to prevent spread of fake news and rumors related to leak of question paper which may result in disruption in law and order.
We wrote to the Rajasthan Government requesting the State authorities to not shut down the internet to prevent cheating in exams in future. We also requested them to restore Internet In the said districts on an urgent basis. Internet Shutdowns have a harrowing impact on citizens and are often disproportionate in nature. Internet shutdowns are bound to cause economic loss, an impact on education, healthcare and other welfare schemes. An internet shutdown during a pandemic can be especially grave considering citizens depend on the internet to get information, work and study. Shutting down the internet to prevent cheating in exams or to maintain law and order will be a violation of the Telecom Suspension Rules as well as the decision of the Honorable Supreme Court of India in Anuradha Bhasin V. Union of India
In addition to that, the Supreme Court of India in 2020 in Anuradha Bhasin V. Union of India (Writ Petition (C) No.1031 OF 2019/1164 Of 2019) held that internet suspension cannot be ordered unless it is necessary, unavoidable and a drastic measure. The procedure established under the Telecom Suspension Rules, 2017 shall be followed. A state should only consider suspending telecom services if necessary and unavoidable.