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Supreme Court Rejects Petition on Manipur Internet Censorship

The Supreme Court rejected the argument, saying that the Manipur high court is currently dealing with a related matter.

Supreme Court Rejects Petition on Manipur Internet Censorship

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 Jun 2023 1:41 PM GMT

IMPHAL: The Supreme Court has declined an urgent hearing of a plea regarding the suspension of internet services in the violence-stricken state of Manipur. The court stated that a similar issue is already being addressed by the Manipur High Court. The plea was presented before a vacation bench consisting of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal.

“The (Manipur) high court is hearing the matter. What is the need to duplicate proceedings? Mention before the regular bench,” the Supreme Court stated.

The Supreme Court emphasized that since the Manipur High Court is already handling the matter, there is no need to duplicate proceedings. The court suggested that the plea should be brought before the regular bench. The petition was filed by Chongtham Victor Singh and Mayengbam James, who argued that the month-long internet suspension in Manipur was disproportionately severe.

The plea highlighted the adverse impact of the internet shutdown on the people of Manipur, who have already been affected by ethnic violence. It emphasized that the residents are experiencing fear, anxiety, helplessness, and frustration due to the lack of internet access. The petition also noted that individuals are unable to communicate with their loved ones.

The plea argued that the continued suspension of the internet, aimed at preventing the spread of rumors and misinformation, does not meet the criteria set by the Telecom Suspension Rules of 2017. It contended that the reasons for the suspension fail to meet the required threshold.

“Continued suspension of the internet for the purpose of preventing rumour-mongering and the spread of misinformation does not pass the threshold prescribed by the Telecom Suspension Rules, 2017,” the plea said.

Earlier, the Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) urged the state government to consider restoring internet services in Manipur. The commission, headed by Justice U Bikash Saha and member KK Singh, issued an order directing the Manipur home commissioner to review the situation and consider reinstating internet access. The MHRC emphasized the vital role of the internet in modern life, particularly for the younger generation who rely on it for remote work and online education.

Following the outbreak of violence in Manipur on May 3, the state government had suspended internet services, including broadband connections. The Manipur rights panel's order reinforced the importance of internet connectivity, acknowledging its significance for individuals working from home and students who rely on online platforms for their examinations.

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