Manipur HC asks state govt to provide limited internet services in some selected places – aabtak24


Imphal, Jun 20, 2023, IANS

Imphal, June 20 (IANS) The Manipur High Court, in an interim order, directed the state authorities to provide limited internet services to the public in some designated places under the control of the state authorities, sources said here on Tuesday.

The High Court’s observation came on a Public Interest Litigation filed by different individuals. It will now hear the case again on June 23.

Amidst sporadic incidents of violence, the Manipur government on June 15 extended the suspension of internet services for the ninth time since May 3 to prevent the spread of rumours and videos, photos, and messages, which might affect the law and order situation.

The High Court division bench comprising Justice Ahanthem Bimol Singh and Justice A. Guneshwar Sharma, directed the service providers of Vodafone, Idea, Jio, BSNL and Airtel to file a short affidavit explaining whether there is any feasibility of providing limited internet services to the public by blocking social media, website and by safeguarding the concern of the state government to maintain law and order in the state.

Taking into consideration the hardship faced by the public specially with regard to the ongoing admission process of the students in the state and to enable the public for carrying out their urgent and essential services, the high court directed the state authorities to provide limited internet service to the public in some designated places under the control of the state authorities.

The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) earlier asked the state government to consider restoration of internet services which had been suspended since the ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3.

MHRC Chairperson Justice Utpalendu Bikash Saha and member K.K. Singh, in an order, asked the Home Commissioner to consider restoration of internet services in Manipur for providing benefits to the citizens to balance the security of the state and the right to freedom of expression.

The rights panel issued the order following a complaint from Kammingthang Hangshingan, an Aizawl resident, on the suspension of Internet services in Churachandpur district of Manipur last month. The complaint called it a ‘human rights violation’.

Various organisations, including the opposition Congress, have been demanding immediate restoration of internet service in Manipur.

Chongtham Victor Singh, an advocate with the Manipur High Court, recently filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the mechanical and repeated shutdown of the Internet in Manipur.

The petition had said when the government claimed that the state was returning to normalcy, the same state authority continued to suspend the internet services.

As shortage of various essentials, transport fuel, cooking gas and life-saving drugs, disturbances in banking and online facilities are affecting the normal life of people in strife-torn state, the Internet suspension for one-and-a-half months across the mountainous state further has added to the miseries of the people.


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