The Supreme Court has refused to restrain states from banning mobile internet services, saying that such steps are necessary to maintain law and order.
A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice R Banumathi dismissed an appeal challenging a judgment of the Gujarat High Court which had upheld the ban on mobile internet under section 144 of CrPC during ‘Patidar agitation’ led by Hardik Patel. During the agitation launched by Hardik Patel last year demanding OBC status for Patels in jobs and education, the state government had put a ban on the mobile internet under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code. It was done to maintain peace and prohibited any unlawful assembly. A PIL was filed by a law student Gaurav Vyas challenging the ban saying it was unconstitutional. However, the Gujarat High Court quashed the petition.
The bench said
: “There can be such ban for law and order.”
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Apar Gupta, argued that the ban under Section 144 was not tenable. He said that there was a special law in place to deal with such situation and it would override the general statue.
Mobile Internet was banned during Patidar movement in Gujarat
But, the apex court said, ” It becomes very necessary sometimes for law and order. There can be concurrent powers.” Such ban has earlier been imposed in Jammu & Kashmir whenever there has been a law and order problem.