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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Can internet be claimed as a right?

    Is it correct to shut down internet services for the general public at any time? Should such a service not be a right of the citizens?

    India has made great progress in going digital. The bank transactions, Government transactions, online shopping platforms, payment of bills for various services used by the public, and many other services like share market, etc., are carried out online. The pandemic has caused the schools and colleges to be shut down and to save the academic year, the classes of the students have gone online. The doctors are also conducting video consultations for the patients. Now we are dependent on the internet for our life to continue smoothly. For anything and everything, we can just search on the internet to get the information.

    The Government for various reasons is shutting down the internet at some places temporarily. This may be necessary for the Government but the common man is put to a lot of inconveniences due to these shutdowns. The Government has to find out other means of controlling the problems with the vast machinery it has at its command than suspending the internet services. The Supreme Court last year said that shutting down internet services indefinitely is not permissible under the Telecom Services Rules of 2017 as the suspension can only be done temporarily and all such suspension orders are subject to judicial review.

    With all this in view, can the internet be claimed as a right?
  • #722922
    From the public point of view the internet is the basic necessity and also the right. But from the govt of point of view it need to control the internet owing to undue usage of the same by unsocial elements and thus cap has been kept on internet time and again. It is the fact that because of some unscrupulous elements the ordinary people are put to hardship but govt has no other go to control the internet. Because the spread of bad news was fast and the damage done is huge and therefore we need to cooperate with the govt in this regard and matter.
    K Mohan @ Moga
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #722927
    Do you agree that postal and telegraph, and phone services were the right in the past? If yes, Internet has replaced such services and is the right for us to use it. During emergencies and to avoid untoward events, government has the right to cut of the facilities in the interest of safety and security of the nation. Anti-nationals and unsocial elements are misusing the facilities provided to us. The government is right in having control over the internet.
    No life without Sun

  • #722928
    I am of the opinion that it is not a right but it is a convenience. There are many villages in the country where there is no internet.facility in many states. A right should be given to all the people equally. In a city you will get free internet connection on streets. But no village is having that facility.
    In AP Chandrababu Naidu tried ti create this facility through out the State but not completed. The present government stopped it. Like ths in many villages there is no.kmye
    It is a facility that is to be purchased by paying money. Poor people may not be able to purchase. But a rich man can purchase. So calling it a right is not correct.

    always confident

  • #722936
    Internat has become an inalienable part of human life. It is used in all walks of life. Many people are using internet for official and personal use. Educational institutes providing education around the world. It is quite common, especially in western world but due to pandemic educational scenario was also changed in our country. But still a large number of people in India are not in touch with the internet, especially, in rural India.
    The author has raised a question if internet is one of the legal rights of people. Internet is the latest boon of this modern age and when constitution was written we had no concept of internet. However, it may be inferred from right of freedom.

  • #722945
    The Government of India regulates the internet through the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The Supreme Court of India, in January 2020, while delivering a judgment in a case declared that freedom of speech and expression, and freedom to practice any profession over the medium of the internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1)(g). The Supreme Court has not declared access to the internet as a fundamental right as the petitioners did not ask for it. Now that the country is rapidly moving towards a total digital era, what is wrong with making it a right?
    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #722948
    Unlike the basic fundamental rights which are based on the natural human behaviour, internet is not such an item . It is different, and it is an electronic item managed and controlled by a group. It may not behave if the nature and atmosphere changes. Therefore we cannot call it a full right, but only partially right.
    No life without Sun

  • #722965
    I think it's a right . When these days we are too much dependent on the internet and when few of ours work solely dependent on the internet in such case it becomes essential for the government for look after them and don't allow to shut it off.

    " The two most important days in your life are the day when you are born and the day you find out why? "
    – Mark Twain

  • #722976
    Members are claiming that we have right over everything that we use in life. Right means free to do anything on our own, not chargeable or dependable on others. Anything for which we pay and use is not the right. It can be denied due to various reasons. Just look at the basic fundamental rights and understand the difference. Internet is a product that we need to buy and use it. It is not free of cost.
    No life without Sun

  • #722984
    Access to the internet cannot be, as on date, claimed as a right by itself but can be said to be a facilitator that leads to enjoyment of a right. In this case, keeping the technological advances in the field of communication and its widespread implementation in India (and across the world) we will have to relate and connect it to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution. So in that sense, though it is not a right by itself, access to the internet cannot be denied or restricted by the government except in accordance with the grounds provided under Art 19(2) of the Constitution.

    Art 19(2) does provide for reasonable (reasonable) restrictions in the interests of the integrity and sovereignty of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence. We need to note two points in this connection. Firstly the restriction should be reasonable and secondly, the State must be able to prove that there is a valid ground, as provided by the Constitution, to impose such restrictions.

    While disposing of a batch of petitions filed against the withdrawal of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, post abrogation of Art 370, the Supreme Court has also made it clear that any restriction placed under Art 19(2) will be subject to judicial review and must also pass the test of proportionality. The Theory of Proportionality demands that the steps taken to enforce a restriction must be reasonably proportionate to the desired result. If it exceeds the acceptable degrees of proportionality, such restrictions will not be able to stand constitutionally.

    So, without going into further details, I would like to conclude that though the internet services cannot be claimed as a right, keeping in view the other points I have tried to enumerate above, the State cannot act arbitrarily and withdraw such facilities except as provided by the Constitution and as guided by the Judiciary.

    'Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power'. -Lao Tzu

  • #723005
    I believe Internet may be considered as Right. Because this is also form of expression. These days as Our government promoting Electric can without knowing that it is good or not. Internet is big and important thing as right.

    Our government should be updated like any other policy.

  • #723009
    I don't think it can be claimed as a right because one has to purchase a data pack or avail a broadband internet connection to avail the service. If it is a right then the government has to provide it compulsorily to everybody without charging anything for it. While it is true that it is unimaginable nowadays to live without the internet, still a lot of remote locations do not have proper internet connectivity. While Saji Sir already elaborated about reasonable restrictions under Art 19(2) I would only say that a proper mechanism has to be found where some services over the internet may be restricted rather than a complete shutdown in certain situations. People take the help of the location services over the internet to go to places and there are many other things people do over the internet like searching for information. Rumours spread when the communication option on the internet like calling, chatting, sending of emails, etc are available but if only these services are stopped when such need arises then people may not be greatly inconvenienced for the want of connectivity.

    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #723014
    The question here is about shutting down the internet as it is becoming essential. The Government is not a service provider and need not make it available to all free of cost. We are purchasing the internet from Internet Service Providers. The Government controls them through TRAI and shutting the internet as a precautionary measure whenever it deems necessary. The shutdown of the internet should be used with caution when it becomes absolutely necessary. In Kashmir, the internet shutdown was the longest for any country in the world.
    " Be Good and Do Good "

  • #723192
    Internet is a right in limited sense though it is like an essential service only. For law abiding good citizens, it is definitely a right. But if some people use it for evil and mean purposes then Govt will have to monitor and even discontinue it in that area. The unfortunate part is that due to such disruption the good citizens will also suffer. It always happens like that in the society when the innocents suffer the misdeeds of a few bad elements.
    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

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