J&K HC summons Home Secretary over poor internet speed

TNN Bureau. Updated: 7/14/2020 8:19:08 PM Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar, Jul 14: Jammu and Kashmir High Court (HC) has directed Union Territory (UT) Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra to appear before a bench on Thursday over poor internet speed which had impacted online hearing.
Mr Kabra has been directed to appear via video conference and apprise the court about the impact of the restrictions on e-connectivity of courts.
A Division Bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar passing an order on its “Own Motion” expressed concern over urgent issues involving the rights of the residents of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
In its three-page order, the bench said that virtual hearing has been necessitated because of the strict lockdown being enforced, following a sharp spike in coronavirus cases.
However, the court said, we find that despite best efforts on the part of our IT experts, it has been impossible to have even a bare semblance of a hearing. We have struggled to have virtual/or audio connectivity with the amicus curiae (Monika Kohli) and the several counsels appearing before us. Even the learned Advocate General has expressed grave difficulty in joining the hearing,” the order said.
The court noted that access to justice is a fundamental right “and cannot be impeded” while reasoning that courts remain accessible to every citizen of the UTs.
The mobile and landline service of all Cellular companies, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) were suspended on August 5 last year when centre scrapped Article 370 and divided the Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs.
However, landline was restored after about a month, the 2G mobile internet service was restored only in January this year. However, due to very low speed people are struggling to work smoothly on 2G speed. A case is pending in the Supreme Court for restoration of 4G high speed internet.

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