SC agrees to hear Manipur govt’s plea challenging lift on internet ban
The Manipur High Court had directed to lift the internet ban on July 7, across the state after ensuring that all stakeholders had complied with the guidelines of the Expert Committee
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine on July 17 the plea filed by the Manipur government against the state high court’s direction to lift the ban on the internet.
A bench headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to post the matter on Monday after advocate Kanu Agarwal mentioned the state government’s plea for urgent listing.
On July 7, the Manipur High Court had directed 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 by the court.
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 directions came after a Public Interest Litigation was filed before the high court 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.
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.
Earlier on July 6, the apex court had declined to entertain a petition challenging internet shutdown in Manipur, after noting that the state high court is already hearing a similar petition.
The top court had pointed out that a similar plea concerning internet shutdowns in the state was pending before the high court in which an expert committee was formed and directed to examine whether internet could be restored.
Also, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to direct the Army and paramilitary forces to provide security in tribal areas in Manipur, saying that the apex court, in its 72 years of existence, has never issued directions to the Army on how to conduct military, security, or rescue operations.
The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) headed by Justice Utpalendu Bikash Saha (Retd) earlier asked the Manipur government to consider restoration of internet services which had been suspended since the ethnic violence broke out in the north-eastern state.