On the hearing of a plea in connection with internet shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir since early August, the Supreme Court (SC) of India has declared that freedom of speech and expression through the medium of internet is a fundamental right that can only be curtailed in situations of public emergency or in the interests of public safety.
Indian Constitution makes the right to freedom of speech and expression a fundamental right for all citizens. It has been enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The Indian Constitution does not explicitly recognise freedom of the press. However, the Supreme Court had deduced freedom of the press from freedom of speech and expression. In the landmark Sakal Papers judgment, the SC ruled that freedom of the press cannot be curtailed. Thus, the SC has on very many occasions expanded the scope of the right to freedom of speech and expression.
Now the latest expansion makes the constitutional provision keep pace with the advancement of technology. The SC ruling is also in line with the United Nations recommendation that every country should make access to internet a fundamental right.
Compiled by Law Desk (SOURCE: indiatoday.in).