Explore whether 4G can be restored in parts of J&K, SC tells govt

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The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to explore the possibility of restoring 4G Sercvices in certain areas.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration sought time to take instructions on the restoration of high-speed internet service, saying a new Lt governor has been appointed in the Union territory.

Manoj Sinha has been appointed the new L-G of Jammu and Kashmir after G.C. Murmu resigned from the post.

High-speed Internet service in Jammu and Kashmir has been suspended since August last year when the Centre had announced revocation of its special status and bifurcation of the state into two UTs—Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The top court told the administration that with the change of L-G, nothing changes as the special committee is there to look into the issue.

A bench of Justices N.V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai adjourned the hearing for August 11, on the contempt plea filed by an NGO seeking restoration of 4G internet service in the Union territory.

The apex court was hearing a plea of the NGO seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the Union home secretary and chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir for their alleged “wilful disobedience” in complying with the court’s May 11 order.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir administration told the bench that he needs to take instructions as the L-G has changed there and new L-G has taken over on Thursday.

The bench said that the court cannot say what the situation is on the ground level but the issue is that the matter should not be delayed.

The bench asked Mehta to take instructions on whether 4G services can be restored in certain areas.

Mehta said that there is no intention to delay the issue as the top court’s order has been complied with in letter and spirit and he would take instructions.

The bench told Mehta that he has to explain as under what circumstances the L-G had reportedly said that the 4G internet service can be restored and what was the basis of that statement by the L-G.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner NGO, raised the issue of time sought by the respondents repeatedly in the matter.

The bench told Ahmadi that he must also be aware about the changes and asked him to wait for two more days.

It said that strictly speaking, the matter can be disposed of, but the court needs to see under what circumstances that statement was reportedly made (by the L-G).

The bench told Mehta that there is no question of further adjournment and he should take instructions on the issue.

Mehta said earlier they had filed response to the petition and then there was some subsequent interview given by the L-G.

On July 28, the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration had told the top court that it will verify reported statements made by the Lt governor of Jammu and Kashmir and BJP leader Ram Madhav that 4G internet service can be restored in the Union territory, and sought time to file a reply to the rejoinder affidavit filed by an NGO.

A contempt plea has been filed by an NGO Foundation for Media Professionals seeking action against authorities for not complying with the apex court’s direction on restoration of 4G internet services.

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