SC declines to entertain application seeking enforcement of its guidelines for state-imposed internet shutdowns and says, “We made a mistake by issuing notice”

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The Supreme Court (SC) bench comprising Justice Dipankar Datta, Justice Aravind Kumar, and Justice BR Gavai, today, declined to entertain a miscellaneous application that sought enforcement of its guidelines for state-imposed internet shutdowns. A three-judge bench remarked that the petitioners had other remedies, in case the top court’s verdict in Anuradha Bhasin was not being enforced. 

During the SC proceedings, Justice Datta asked the counsel appearing for the petitioner, “With Article 144, how can you ask for more directions?” Further, Justice Kumar said, “So many people can have apprehensions. But is the miscellaneous application even maintainable? It has become functus officio.” While dismissing the matter, Justice Gavai said, “We condemn reopening disposed of matters by civil applications. Thank you. Dismissed. We made a mistake by issuing notice.” 

In the Anuradha Bhasin judgment, one of the addressed questions was “Whether the Government’s action of prohibiting internet access is valid?” The bench then held that “An order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017… Suspension can be utilized for temporary duration only.” It added, “Any order suspending internet under the Suspension rules is subject to judicial review based on the parameters set out.”