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Are Internet shutdowns healthy for India? Critically analyse and also comment on the recent trends associated and the laws governing it.

Topic:  Challenges to Internal Security through Communication Networks, Role of Media and Social Networking Sites in Internal Security Challenges.

4.  Are Internet shutdowns healthy for India? Critically analyse and also comment on the recent trends associated and the laws governing it. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

Data on internet shutdowns in India which is available in public domain and compiled by Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC). Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss about the study and its key findings; trends in internet shutdowns in India and comment upon the laws governing it.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly start with the key findings of the report. The number of preventive internet shutdowns enforced by the central and the state governments in India saw a major spike between 2017 and 2019, and as many as 95 of these lasted for more than 24 hours.

Body:

First discuss the recent internet shutdowns played out in many parts of the country like – Kashmir, north-east etc. Then explain that in today’s world, there are high social and economic costs for repeated and prolonged suspension of Internet connectivity. Explain the difference between Preventive and Reactive internet shutdown. Discuss rules regarding internet shutdown; Indian Telegraph Act of 1885. Highlight the Misuse of Section 144 of CrPC.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way forward.