There is nothing wrong in banning mobile internet to maintain law and order, the Supreme Court said Thursday finding no fault with the Gujarat government’s decision during the Patidar agitation in the state.
“There can be such ban for law and order,” said a bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice R Bhanumathi while upholding the Gujarat high court’s verdict that had declared the ban was right.
The Supreme Court’s decision came on an appeal filed by Gaurav Sureshbhai Vyas who had challenged the High Court verdict. The ban was imposed under section 144 of the criminal procedure code, notified by the police when it apprehends a law and order problem. The prohibitory orders prevent an unlawful assembly.
The petitioner’s lawyer, Apar Gupta, argued the ban under the CrPc was untenable. He contended there was a special law--the Telegraph Act--to deal with such situations.
A special law will override the general statue and so the ban should not have been imposed under Section 144.
The argument failed to impress the bench, which said there can be concurrent powers. “It becomes very necessary sometimes for law and order. There can be concurrent powers,” said Justice Thakur before rejecting the petition.
The Gujarat government had banned mobile internet when Hardik Patel launched a movement last year demanding OBC status for Patels in jobs and education.
Similar bans have been imposed in other states, including Jammu & Kashmir, whenever the police has apprehended a law and order problem.