The Anuradha Bhasin Judgment and the Conditional Status of the Right to the Internet

The preamble to the Indian Constitution provides for the liberty of thought and expression to each and every citizen of the country. This solemn resolve is envisaged in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution which provides for freedom of speech and expression to its citizens. This freedom is restricted by Article 19(2) which provides for reasonable restrictions on eight grounds under which the State can encroach on a person’s freedom of speech and expression. Article 19(2) is generally understood as a provision enabling the State to make laws that impose reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression. In addition to this, Article 19(2) is also a restriction on the State itself as it cannot restrict a citizen’s free speech on any grounds other than those specifically mentioned. Furthermore, the restriction must be made through a law that needs to be checked against fundamental rights. Thus, restrictions cannot be imposed at the whims and fancies of the State. A recent case that reinforces this principle while also improvising the interpretation of the right to access the internet vis-a-vis the fundamental rights is Anuradha Bhasin v Union of India (more…)

Measures to address the impact of COVID on access to education in Government Primary Schools of Delhi

The UNDP report COVID and Human Development: Assessing the Crisis, Envisioning the Recovery states that the pandemic has emerged as a “human development crisis” with indicators of certain dimensions expected to sink as low as mid-1980 levels. Education is one such dimension. With schools being closed and large proportions of the population without internet access, “effective out-of-school rate” suggests that 60% of the children across the globe do not have access to education. (more…)

Right to Internet vis à vis Right to Primary Education in the NCT of Delhi

Information about the issue:

In the last few months, COVID-19 has surfaced as an unprecedented challenge for the issue of access to quality education, especially for primary school students in government schools. For most of the students in government primary schools belonging to the disadvantaged communities, absence of computers, smartphones or any reliable broadband service means failure to access the e-learning tools that have proved to be indispensable in the event of the lockdown. With the proven necessity of access to the internet for access to education, lack of government intervention has highlighted the scale of poor access to the internet and its adverse consequences for access to primary education.  (more…)