Access to the Internet is a basic right, says Kerala High Court
The Kerala High Court on Thursday held that the right to have access to the Internet is part of the fundamental right to education as well as the right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution. This was in response to the petition filled by a college student challenging her expulsion for not adhering to restrictions on the use of mobile phone. The court observed, “When the Human Rights Council of the United Nations has found that the right of access to Internet is a fundamental freedom and a tool to ensure right to education, a rule or instruction which impairs the said right of the students cannot be permitted to stand in the eye of law.” The Judge observed that the action of the college authorities infringed the fundamental freedom as well as privacy and would adversely affect the future and career of students who want to acquire knowledge and compete with their peers, such restriction could not be permitted to be enforced.
Supreme Court in the S.Rangarajan and others v. P. Jagjivan Ram (1989) case said t “the fundamental freedom under Article 19(1)(a) can be reasonably restricted only for the purposes mentioned in Article 19(2) and the restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not the quicksand of convenience or expediency.”The court further said that college authorities as well as parents should be conscious of the fact that the students in a college hostel are adults capable of taking decisions as to how and when they have to study.