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Manipur High Court instructs state government not to ban internet service in the state

The High Court of Manipur has instructed the state government to confirm that the broadband ‘Wifi’ of BSNL and other private service providers be made smoothly available to the subscribers.

The directive was declared on Tuesday by the division bench of the high court including the chief justice, Ramalingam Sudhakar and justice, N. Kotiswar.

The declaration came after filing of a public interest litigation (PIL) by a senior Imphal Free Press reporter Paojel Chaoba, in connection with the shutting down of mobile data services by the state government.

State Government shut down the mobile data service of Manipur for five days ensuing the raid conducted by state forces inside the hostels of Manipur University during the intervening night of September 20 and September 21.

The raid was initiated after the FIR lodged by Manipur University pro-vice-chancellor, K. Yugindro to Singjamei police station against the University community in accordance with the directive of chief minister, N. Biren Singh.

The PIL filed by Paojel Chaoba said,” considering the difficulties faced by various section of the people of the state at the instance of the issuance of the impugned order no. 1/1(3)/2008-H dated September 21 issued by the special secretary (home) suspending all forms of telecom services except voice calls within the state for the next five day starting from September 21, the suspension of the mobile data services has resulted in resulted in facing immense
trouble to the youths and aspiring students of the state who strive for enhancement of their respective profession as well as career in different fields.”

The PIL further added The criticised order has totally affected every section of people ranging from engineers, doctors, teachers, lawyers, media persons, businessmen, academicians,  students community, entrepreneurs, and many others.

The petitioner counsel, Pushpa Gurumayum asked to issue a writ in the nature of certiorari or mandamus for putting down the criticised order dated September 21 which affected in the suspension of internet services regarding the loss experienced by the sections of the people living in Manipur.

The petitioner counsel also asked to direct the government not ban the internet services in response to each and every issue arising from time to time in the state at the same time violating the fundamental rights conferred by the constitution of India.

She further asked to stay the operation of the controversial order dated September 21 immediately to allow the access of internet services to the people of the state.

The court has fixed September 27 for the next hearing of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

This is the fourth time that internet has been shut down in Manipur.

Previously Internet was banned for five days in July after protests by MUSU demanding removal of the VC in Manipur University.

The district magistrate of East and West Imphal on December 2016, had issued an order to suspend mobile Internet services to control the law and order situation as economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council.

Following large-scale violence in Churachandpur district in the state, internet was shut down in the entire state on September 2, 2015.