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Assam government suspends internet for “exam precautions,” despite previous court orders

The Calcutta High Court rejected such grounds for internet shutdown orders, and MP Pradyut Bordoloi wrote to the CM over the same

What’s the news: Another Sunday goes by and another Indian state faces an internet shutdown by the government. Assam government on August 21 suspended the internet of some districts, reportedly for ‘conducting recruitment exams’ for government jobs. While mobile internet services were non-functional for four hours in these regions, the same may happen again on August 28, the next phase of the examination. Assam’s Nagaon MP Pradyut Bordoloi wrote to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa on Sunday about his concerns over the government suspending internet services in light of recruitment examinations for Grade III and Grade IV posts. According to NDTV, candidates will appear to fill 27,000 vacancies in various government departments. However, Bordoloi pointed out that cutting off the internet of entire districts only to ensure ‘no-cheating conditions’ violates the country’s rules and judicial directives regarding internet suspension. Why it matters: Independent reports and Parliamentarians alike have voiced concern about the upward trend of internet suspensions in India. Two weeks ago, similar suspensions occurred in Manipur and Kashmir. Usually, government authorities term the move as a “security measure” to justify the sudden loss of service. This time, the Assam government has not given such a reason but instead used an excuse that was previously criticised by the Calcutta High Court. What does the Calcutta High Court say? Petitioner Ashlesh Biradar in March 2022 approached the West Bengal High Court challenging a government move to suspend internet services “to control cheating in the Madhyamaik Examinations.” He pointed out that such an…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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