States can clampdown mobile internet access under Section 144 of CrPC: Supreme Court

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Who: Restrictions on internet access under Section 144 of CrPC
What: Upheld by the Supreme Court
When: 11 February 2016
Why: Necessary to protect public order

The Supreme Court on 11 February 2016 ruled that States can clampdown mobile internet access under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) if there is apprehension that a public agitation can turn aggressive and disturb public tranquillity.

The ruling was delivered by a bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur while dismissing a plea filed by law student Gaurav Sureshbhai Vyas against a Gujarat High Court order.

The petitioner contended that the high court’s order, which upheld a clampdown on mobile internet access under Section 144 of the CrPC during the Patidar agitation, was a violation of the right to freedom of speech and expression granted under the Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution.

The Gujarat high court, in September 2015, ruled that the clampdown was only minimal restriction and not a violation of free speech, which extends to unhindered access to internet.