Elusive quest for Right to Access Internet in the Indian Legal Landscape

Uday Shankar and Saurabh Bindal

“As the authors sketch the last words to this piece, they sit back and reflect whether this word of theirs will be known to the world morrow, because they apprehend that with the growing day, the dusk delved by the ineluctable “State” will shroud their right to access internet.”

Revolution of internet has engulfed each and every nation alike. In today’s era, contemplation of a world, without internet, has become last to impossible. This piece forays into the discussion on accessibility of internet as a perceived human right. The universality of human rights stamps an inherent attribute to such rights. This is all the more true for civil and political rights. Not to mention, that some of the socio-economic rights have also started drawing the flavor of inalienability in the recent era. That is not to say that the State cannot make progressive laws to further the cause of these rights, but that certainly means that the State cannot make laws so as to bereave a person of these rights. Earlier, the civil and political rights were thought to be a class in themselves. This is not the case today. Social and economic rights have also been fathomed as the wheels of the chariot of human rights, tagged along with the civil and political rights. Together they constitute what are called human rights. The inflation in the content of human rights, over a period of time, suggests the changing vicissitudes of life. From generation to generation, the concept and context of autonomy and dignity has experienced a transformation. Social and economic cluster of rights have been inflated for ensuring higher parameters of fruitful and dignified living. This is done to ensure that the State does not shirk from its responsibilities to provide a meaningful life. The leitmotif of this piece is not to regurgitate over the scholarly writings available on the chosen topic. Instead it provides a lightening rod for placement of right to access internet under the parasol of the Indian Constitution. This issue draws all the more significance after the Indian Government, who represents the executive wing and is branded in Part III of the Indian Constitution as “State”[i], has shown indulgence in activities related to stalling the growth of internet.

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July 19, 2016

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