The internet shutdown in many parts of the country following CAA-NRC protests has posed a problem for many. The Allahabad High Court has taken up the issue of recent incidents of suspension of internet services in Uttar Pradesh in a suo motu PIL. The High Court has said decisively that the right to continuous internet is a part of the right to live. It also said that “each and every activity of life is dependent to the internet services,” further adding that the “administration must adopt some other mode and methods to meet with different eventualities pertaining to the law and order issues.”
Right To Continuous Internet
The Allahabad HC said that “The right to have continuous internet in the present era is an extension of the right to live.” According to the court, “discontinuation of that is a violation of Article 21 of the Consitution of India.” Article 21 guarantees the right to live.
When so much of our lives are online, cutting off our internet should not be an option. – Prachi Singh
The statement by the high court is a powerful one. Continuous internet and uninterrupted services form a part of the right to live today. So much of what we do today is dependant on the internet. “Internet isn’t just entertainment anymore. It’s everything. From news to transportation to food and communication. We need it at all times,” says Ayushi Sarkar, a 20-year-old college student from Kolkata.
In times when continuous access internet ensures everything from our safety to connectivity, suspension of the internet can leave people, especially young women feeling unsafe and at discomfort. Prachi Singh experienced this first hand.
“Luckily, unlike other parts of the country, I only suffered an internet shutdown of a few hours. But that was enough to cut me off from everyone. I couldn’t inform my family that I was safe, and I felt really vulnerable. When so much of our lives are online, cutting off our internet should not be an option. The court’s statement is right,” believes Singh, a 19-year-old undergraduate student.
Right To Live
Young people across the nation believe that the right to continuous internet is indeed, an important one. “Communication is perhaps the most important. Calling is not always an option. So the internet, with its various platforms, is a tool for communication and information. We need the internet to get in touch with our loved ones,” says Oli Chatterjee, a 21-year-old from Delhi, where internet shutdowns were frequent.
In such times, internet shutdowns restrict everyday life and movement. They harm us in innumerable ways. – Meghna Chatterjee.
Srijani Pal says that she uses the internet for more than just entertainment and news. “The internet is not just a luxury anymore, that can be cut off. It’s vital to everyday life and definitely falls under right to live. India is a digitized nation. The internet gives me instant information and without it, I’m not safe,” says the 18-year-old Mumbai student.
“The internet brings a certain convenience. People order food, groceries and everything else online. They book cab rides online. They check for weather, news and directions online. There is nothing that we don’t turn to the internet for,” says Meghna Chatterjee, a Kolkata-based college student. “In such times, internet shutdowns restrict everyday life and movement. They harm us in innumerable ways.”
Image Credit: Newsbytes
Prapti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV