Supreme Court Current Affairs - 2020

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Supreme Court: Access to Internet-a fundamental right

On January 10, 2020, the Supreme Court of India said that Right of access to internet is a fundamental right. The Court had asked the administration of Jammu and Kashmir to review the curbs on internet in a week.

Lately the Indian Government had been using internet shut down as a tool to control protest in the country against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. It was predominant in the north eastern states.

Highlights

A three-member bench of the apex court heard on a batch of pleas against complete blockage of internet in Kashmir. Kashmir was shut out of internet for five months now, since abrogation of Article 370.

The bench pronounced that freedom of speech and expression and freedom to practice any business or trade over internet is constitutionally protected under Article 19 (1).

The judgement also read that Section 144 CrPC shall not be used to suppress freedom of speech and expression.

2016 UN Resolution

In 2016, the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) released a resolution that condemned disruption of internet access by government. Before passing the resolution UN quoted that there were 15 internet shut downs in 2015 and 20 in 2017. The UN referred to internet ban in Turkey after terrorist attacks, internet shut down in India after local protests and internet blockage in Algeria.

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Fadnavis sworn in as Maharashtra CM: SC’s concept of fast Floor Tests

On November 23, 2019, Mr Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The governor has given him time till November 30, 2019 to prove his majority. This contradicts Supreme Court’s orders that were passed in last two decades.

The Supreme Court in its previous judgements have pronounced that floor tests should follow within 24 to 48 hours of swearing-in. This is because, it will increase risks of horse trading and corruption.

S R Bommai Case

The concept of floor test was introduced by the SC’s judgement in 1994 in SR Bommai case. SC referred to Article 164 of the constitution. SC interprets the article’s words “Council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the state” as the ultimate test of majority is not held in Raj Bhavan but on the floors of the assembly.

Previous SC Judgements

In 2018, SC ordered a floor test within 24 hours after BJP leader Mr Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the CM of Karnataka.

In 2005, SC ordered an immediate floor test to see which of the political alliances has majority in the house of Jharkhand

In 1998, SC ordered for a floor test to be held within 48 hours to determine majority in the Uttar Pradesh assembly.

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