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Rajasthan wanted to curb cheating during an exam. Did that require an Internet shutdown?

The order that suspended internet services reportedly complies neither with existing law nor with Supreme Court precedent.

The Rajasthan government has decided to suspend internet and SMS services in 5 districts during the REET 2021 exams, the government announced in a press release on September 25. Mobile internet services were unavailable in Jaipur Rural, Dausa, Jhunjhunu, Alwar, and Sikar districts during the day of September 26. The order to suspend the internet was issued by Divisional Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Yadav, according to the press release: Mr. Yadav said that there would be movement of examinees from one district to another in the state, in such a situation, deteriorating law and order could arise due to rumours of fake news, accident rumours, paper leaks.  — Government press release India is already infamous around the world for the frequency of internet shutdowns in the country. The Rajasthan government's recent decision lowers the bar even further for causes that warrant an internet suspension. But does preventing cheating in an exam pass the minimum criteria for shutdowns set by Telecom Suspension Rules and the Supreme Court? Suspending internet to prevent cheating violates the law: SFLC The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), an Indian digital rights organisation, wrote to the Rajasthan government on September 26 arguing that the decision to suspend the internet violated the law: Internet shutdowns are bound to cause economic loss, an impact on education, healthcare and other welfare schemes. [...] Shutting down the internet to prevent cheating in exams will be a violation of the Telecom Suspension Rules as well the decision of the honorable Supreme Court of…

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