With unprecedented internet shutdowns taking place in the country amid protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea which alleged that telecom services were disrupted in various parts of the national capital during the anti-CAA protests in violation of rules.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar refused to entertain the PIL after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, told the court the disruption was only for four hours on December 19 and was no longer continuing.
There were protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on December 19. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain further said no rules were violated in the issuance of the direction for the prohibition of telecom services as contended by the petitioner.
The court, while declining to entertain the matter, said the petitioner can file a suit for damages if it has suffered any loss due to the disruption.
The petition contended that the order for prohibition of telecom services in Delhi was issued by a Deputy Commissioner of Police and not the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) who is the competent authority to issue such a direction under the relevant rules.
Meanwhile, the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir remains without internet for 145th day on Tuesday which is the longest ever in a democratic country. International community and Human Rights organizations continue to condemn the communication lockdown in the state after the abrogation of Article 370.
Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal introduced a Congressional resolution urging India to end the restrictions on communications in Jammu and Kashmir as swiftly as possible and preserve religious freedom for all residents. Due to this External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar refused to meet the delegation of Congress members in his recent trip to United States which again attracted criticism from the American leaders including potential Democrat Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.