4G Order: ‘Umpire Asks Batsman to Decide Whether He’s Out or Not’

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A day after Supreme Court of India refrained from passing a ruling on the restoration of high-speed internet in Jammu and Kashmir, the union territory administration came up with yet another extended deadline. Between the judicial take and executive control, commoners continue to pay through their noses in Kashmir.

 Swati Joshi

HOURS after the Supreme Court of India announced the much-awaited 4G order, a Kashmiri student preparing for competitive exams messaged Kanan Gopinath, the former IAS officer who last year resigned from the service to protest against New Delhi’s decision to abrogate the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

“Supreme court was our last hope,” the student told Gopinath according to his tweet. “But now it’s broken.”

The student who has completed his board exams complained of no support from mainstream media and political leaders. With two months remaining for the exams, the student requested the former IAS officer to raise the issue on national media.

On Monday, the Supreme Court of India declined the pleas for restoration of 4G internet services in the valley in its judgment. The top court taking cognizance of the “concerns” relating to Covid-19 and the “hardships” faced by people has ordered to set up a “special committee” comprising of Secretary of Ministry of Communications, Chief Secretary of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, headed by the Union Home Secretary.

The judgment by the apex court received a plethora of responses from netizens.

“Strange times,” one netizen tweeted, reacting to the verdict, “Umpire asks batsman to decide whether he is out or not.”

The special committee formed by the apex court would examine the “contentions of and the material placed” by both the petitioners and respondents. The top court directed the committee to scrutinize the alternatives suggested by petitioners regarding limiting of internet speed in certain areas and allowing 3G and 4G on a trial basis over certain “geographical areas”.

Considering that high-speed internet was banned by the Bhartiya Janta Party-led central government, the judgment puts the ball back into the government’s court.

“…For 4G in Kashmir SC ropes in Govt Agencies in decision making. Why not just hear GOI and decide? Scared. Or learning from Politicians?” asked one of the netizens.

Fast internet services in Kashmir were removed post the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year. Since then people are finding it difficult to communicate with the outside world using 2G.

Journalists, doctors, students, businessmen have suffered because of the slow internet services in the valley. A person preparing for a competitive exam expressed his helplessness on social media. Acknowledging the fact that 4G services are working in rest of India sans J&K he feels he is already laid back in the competition.

“So technically its 2g vs 4g, and we all know who will win?” said the netizen.

A three-judge bench of the apex court comprising of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy, and BR Gavai headed by Justice Ramana said “peculiar circumstances” in the Union Territory required “delicate balancing” of “national security concerns and human rights”.

The petitioners Foundation for Media Professionals, Soayib Qureshi and Private Schools Association J&K had filed pleas for restoration of the 4G network in the valley on grounds such as the right to health, right to education, right to business, and right to freedom of speech and expression.

The petitioners also alleged that during the pandemic, “availability of effective and speedy internet in order to access medical services and information on containment strategies” is important.

Kashmir has reported 879 cases of coronavirus. People in Kashmir are not even able to search topics on Google properly, expressed a netizen’s tweet.

While the rest of the world was celebrating International technology Day on Monday, Kashmir was waiting for the top court’s decision on the restoration of 4G. Access to the internet is a very basic and essential technology especially during the pandemic, opined a netizen.

A majority of people cannot afford broadband and fiber connections, claimed one of the netizens. People in the valley are struggling to download the Arogya Setu app with 2G speed. The app is recommended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to check the spread of the virus.

The petitioners also contended that restriction of internet speed impacts the students of J&K to “exercise their right to education”. The petitioners presented an affidavit of a journalist who collected testimonies of doctors, teachers, students, journalists, lawyers, and businesspersons from the Union Territory, and of technical expert narrating importance of 4G internet.

Many students preparing for the competitive exams are severely affected by the slow internet services in the valley. Even students returning to Kashmir from various states would be restrained from attending online classes due to poor connectivity. A netizen claimed that it takes 1 hour to properly see a video of 10 minutes using 2G.

While 4G restrictions in the valley continues, a netizen asked the administration for a better solution to handle security concerns rather than snapping the fast internet services. He complained of the difficulty in watching lectures using 2G and said that he doesn’t have hawk eyes to see words clearly in “240 mp mode”.

 

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Digitalization is one of the biggest changes which ever took place in history of mankind. After The coming of Agriculture and Globalisation. Internet has revolutionized the communication system globally in no time. History teaches us about hundreds of communication systems being used by man througout its course. But Internet emerged as a tool which took over all other communication systems globally. Beginning from technologically advanced nations it took decades to reach and consolidate itself in other parts. Today the remotest corners of the world are well connected with internet. Telecommunication companies made large fortunes but selling their services among the people. Technology advances itself in quick time, with every passing minute it grows four folds. India is fast growing digitally and digital India mission is making its mark in every nook and corner of the country. In last few years Andaman , Nicobar , Lakshdweep ,Ladakh and many other remotest parts gained internet accessibility and is expanding like a wild fire. The number of smartphone users in India in 2022 is expected to be around 442 million. Tenchonology has its uses but abuses come along as a gift. So dear users use this tool judiciously use it for constructive purposes rather than disturbing communal harmony or posing security threats or many others. Because of a few bad people around our whole UT(JK) is lagging behind. And Dear Administration you may be right with the security concerns but snatching it is not a permanent solution how will long will you keep doing this. Trust me it is never easy to watch a lecture using 2g we don’t have hawk eyes to watch words clearly in 240mp mode. There is an urgent need to search a permanent solution to this problem, Stopping 4G was never the permanent solution and it will never be. #jkut #internetban #4g #jammu #kahhmir #bhaderwah #bhaderwahi #doda #digitalindia

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Emphasizing the need to find an urgent solution for the problem, the netizen claimed that stopping 4G “was never the permanent solution and it will never be”.

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Swati Joshi

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