The Calcutta High Court on Thursday stayed West Bengal government's order to suspend internet connectivity in some areas between March 7 and 16, Live Law has reported. The decision was taken by the state government to stop cheating during the ongoing Madhyamik (Class 10) exams.
The order was challenged by Ashlesh Birder of Internet Freedom Foundation of India (IFF) on the ground that such an order of suspension could not have been issued by the State under Section 144 CrPC, according to the report.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R Bharadwaj on Wednesday directed the West Bengal government to inform it by Thursday 3 pm about the decision of a review committee over restrictions imposed on internet connectivity in some areas.
Advocate General SN Mookherjee told the court that the review committee has found the order has been issued in accordance with law.
The bench, however, observed that such an initial order can only be issued by the concerned District Magistrate and not the Additional Chief Secretary of the state government.
It further observed that the order does not mention internet services have been suspended due to Madhyamik exams and thus lacks proper reasoning.
The WB government notice said intelligence reports have been received that internet transmission and voice over internet telephony may be used for "unlawful activities in certain areas over the next few days".
As assessment of the inputs "gives reason to believe that such unlawful activities are likely to occur in the absence of preventive measures", the administration has made the decision, it added.
The order did not specifically mention 'Madhyamik' examination, but transmission of texts, images and videos were suspended from 11 am to 3:15 pm on March 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 - the time and dates of the Class 10 board exam in the state.