Supreme Court denies urgent hearing on Manipur internet shutdown plea

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During the summer break, the bench declined the request to list the petition.

According to the petition, the residents of Manipur experienced emotions of fear, anxiety, helplessness, and frustration due to the internet shutdown.

During its summer break, the Supreme Court declined an urgent hearing of a petition challenging the internet shutdown in violence-hit Manipur.

Justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal, the vacation bench, stated that since the matter is already being considered by the Manipur High Court, there is no need to duplicate the plea in the Supreme Court. The court is set to reopen on July 3.

The petitioners’ advocate, Shadan Farasat, argued that the internet had been shut down for 35 days. The state’s representative, advocate Pukhrambam Ramesh Kumar, mentioned that five petitions challenging the internet ban are already pending before the Manipur High Court.

The court directed the fresh petition to be taken up in due course. Ethnic violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur has resulted in 102 deaths, over 300 injuries, and around 40,000 people being displaced since May 3. The Manipur government recently extended the ban on internet services until June 10.

Manipur residents Chongtham Victor Singh and Mayengbam James filed a plea before the Supreme Court, stating that the internet shutdown in Manipur was “grossly disproportionate” and violated their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression, as well as the right to conduct business using the internet.

The petition emphasized the adverse economic, humanitarian, social, and psychological effects experienced by the petitioners and their families due to the shutdown. It mentioned that the residents faced fear, anxiety, helplessness, and frustration as they were unable to communicate with their loved ones or colleagues.

The petition contended that the ongoing internet suspension, which aimed to prevent rumors and misinformation, failed to meet the criteria outlined by the Telecom Suspension Rules 2017.

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Toshika Chauhan

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