CJI asked to take cognizance of internet shutdown at Delhi borders
New Delhi: A group of 140 lawyers has written to Chief Justice S.A. Bobde requesting him to take suo moto cognisance of the internet shutdown imposed by the Centre at various Delhi borders against the backdrop of the ongoing farmers protest seeking repeal of the three farm laws.
The lawyers have urged the Chief Justice that the judiciary should direct the Union Home Ministry to restrain from imposing further internet shutdown in the area around the protest sites.
The letter written by lawyers Sitwat Nabi and Abhisht Hela, which purportedly had signatures of 140 advocates, asked the Chief Justice to set up a commission of enquiry to probe into police inaction in controlling the violence and its alleged role in facilitating the mob attack on January 29.
The letter sought strict action against the journalists and the news channels involved in spreading provocative content and fake rumours about the farmers and the protest. The advocates have also called for action against local hoodlums who reportedly had engaged in the manhandling of protestors, and journalists at the Singhu border.
The lawyers termed the MHA’s internet shutdown as gross misuse of power by the Centre. They emphasised that it intervened with the protestors and individuals in exercising their fundamental rights conferred under Article 19 (1) (a).
The internet services were suspended at the three border points of Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur and their adjoining areas from 11 p.m. on January 29 effective till 11 p.m. on January 31. This suspension of internet was further extended till 11 p.m. on February 2.
Thousands of farmers are protesting against the three farm laws — The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act — at various Delhi borders since the end of November last year.
The Supreme Court had already stayed the implementation of these laws and appointed a committee to hear the farmers grievances.