Manipur HC directs govt to partially lift ban on internet – aabtak24


Imphal, Jul 08, 2023, TRIPURATIMES Desk

Imphal, July 8 (IANS): The Manipur High Court has directed the state government to lift the ban on providing internet through Internet Lease Line (ILL) across the state after ensuring that all the stakeholders have complied with the safeguards given by the Expert Committee, constituted earlier, court sources said on Saturday.

As sporadic incidents of violence continued in Manipur, the state government on July 5 extended the suspension of internet services for the 13th time till July 10, to curb the spread of rumours and videos, photos, and messages, which might deteriorate the law and order situation.

 A division bench of Justices Ahanthem Bimol Singh and A. Guneshwar Sharma in its order on Friday directed the state government to lift the ban on providing internet through ILL across the state to facilitate limited access to internet services for the public, and to consider Fibre to Home connections (FTH) on a case to case basis, provided the safeguards put on record by the Expert Committee are complied with.

Some of the safeguards stipulated by the Expert Committee for internet access to be restored include limiting the speed to 10MBPS, securing undertakings from intended users that they will not indulge anything illegal, and subjecting the users to “physical monitoring by the concerned authority/officials.”

The The High Court directions came after a Public Interest Litigation filed earlier seeking restoration of internet services in Manipur, where internet suspension continued after the outbreak of the ethnic violence between the non-tribal Meitei and tribal Kuki communities since May 3.

After hearing the service providers of Vodafone, Idea, Jio, BSNL and Airtel, state government, members of the Expert Committee, as well as the Commissioner (Home) and the Director (Information Technology), Manipur, the court in its order said that internet service can be provided by all the service providers operating in Manipur to a limited number of specially identified and whitelisted mobile numbers if such mobile numbers are identified and furnished by the Home Department of Manipur government.

“It has also been stated by all the officials of the service providers that providing of internet service will be exclusively limited to those specially identified or whitelisted mobile numbers and that there is absolutely no chance or possibility of any leakage.

“In other words, except for the person who is using the identified/ whitelisted mobile number, no other person can utilize or avail the internet service provided to the said mobile number,” the HC order said.

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

Since the ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3. People have been facing scarcity of various essentials, transport fuel, cooking gas and life-saving drugs, disruption in banking and online facilities affecting normal life, the Internet suspension for 67 days across the mountainous state further added to the misery of the people.


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