The Haryana government in India ordered the suspension of internet services in the five districts of the state, in response to ongoing farmers' protests.
This statement was originally published on sflc.in on 7 September 2021.
SFLC.in wrote a letter to the Haryana Government requesting them to reconsider shutting down the Internet in 5 districts in Haryana.
According to an order released by the Haryana Government, Internet services were to be suspended in 5 districts – namely Karnal, Kaithal, Jind, Kurukshetra and Panipat – to maintain the law and order situation in the State owning to farmers’ protests.
Internet services were to be suspended in these districts from 12 Midnight on 7 September 2021 for 24 hours.
Through the Letter, we requested the State authorities reconsider shutting down the internet. Internet shutdowns have a harrowing impact on citizens and are often disproportionate in nature. Internet shutdowns are bound to cause economic loss, and have an impact on education, healthcare and other welfare schemes. An internet shutdown during a pandemic can be especially grave, considering that citizens depend on the internet to get information, work and study.
A Writ Petition was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court earlier in the year on 1 February 2021, against the shutdown imposed by the Haryana Government since 27th January 2021. SFLC.in had assisted in this matter.
It had began with the internet being suspended in Jhajjhar, Sonipat and Palwal districts in Haryana on 27 January 2021. The internet was said to be shut till 5PM on 27 January originally, but later the order was extended till 5PM on 28 January 2021. This was extended to many other districts, the total number being 17. The shutdown was completely lifted only after a period of more than 10 days on 6 February 2021 from all districts in Haryana.
Aggrieved by this, a petitioner moved to court as he was unable to work without access to the internet or get medical services. The matter was heard on 9 February 2021. The matter was withdrawn as it was the opinion of the bench that it had become infructuous. Lawyers from SFLC.in, Prasanth Sugathan, Radhika Jhalani, and Kushagra Sinha as well as Mishi Choudhary, appeared for the petitioner.
You can read more about the petition here.