A student has written to Chief Secretary Donald P Wahlang on the legality of the November 22 order on the temporary suspension of telecom services.
Jade Jeremiah Lyngdoh, a law student at the National Law University, Jodhpur in his letter said the government should have included reasons for the suspension as per the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017.
He pointed out that the November 22 order for suspension of mobile internet services in several areas of the State that began yesterday for a period of 48 hours merely refers to a vague reference of a law and order situation in the state.
Lyngdoh said as per the Telecom Suspension Rules a copy of the suspension order must be sent latest by the next working day to a review committee, which must meet within five working days.
He urged the government to convene a meeting of the Meghalaya Review Committee for it to record its findings on the legality of the order.
Lyngdoh referred to a Supreme Court order in the case of Anuradha Bhasin that the right to freedom of speech and expression, and to carry on one’s profession, guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution of India extends to the medium of the internet. As is evident by the very nature of internet shutdowns, executive actions which restrict the use of the internet impacts citizens’ ability to access the internet, and have an extended impact on their rights to access educational resources, to conduct trade and commerce, and to receive healthcare, among others.
“In the interest of transparency and the spirit of the law, as well as the Supreme Court’s judgement in Anuradha Bhasin, I request that the review committee ensure that the minutes of this meeting be published in public domain,” he said.