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Committee reviewing internet shutdowns in Rajasthan is not following the law, RTI reveals

Udaipur reportedly saw 26 internet shutdowns between January 2020 and October 2021.

no internet
Credit: Aditi Agrawal

The committee formed by the Rajasthan government to review orders for internet shutdowns, is not functioning as per the law, according to an RTI response to the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) on February 23. Formed under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Service (Amendment) Rules 2020, the committee receives the orders by circulation and does not record its findings but simply confirms such shutdown orders, Rajasthan's Home Department revealed. The committee comprises the Chief Secretary of the State, Secretary of the Personnel department, and the Secretary of the Legal Affairs department. In its RTI application, IFF questioned the the review committee over its constitution and findings. This type of review committee has to meet five days after an internet shutdown order is passed, according to the law. It is also required to record their findings on whether the government directions were issued in accordance with the Telegraph Act (or not). The committee stands as the only safeguard against misuse of the legal provisions concerning internet shutdowns, IFF said. Several questions were forwarded to another authority In the RTI, the IFF posed eight questions, out of which the home department forwarded six of them to the Divisional Commissioner of the State. These questions are: Please provide information regarding how many orders suspending telecom services have been issued by your state under Rule 2(1) of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 since 10.01.2020. Please provide information regarding how many orders suspending telecom services have been issued by your…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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