The Kerala High Court on Thursday said the right to access Internet is a fundamental right and part of the right to education.
A bench of Justice P V Asha was acting upon a petition moved by college student Faheema Shirin, questioning the restrictions imposed on use of mobile phones at her college hostel.
The court admitted the contention of the petitioner that the Internet, accessed through mobile phones or computers, gave an opportunity for the students to gather information.
As per rules of the girls’ hostel at Sree Narayana College, Kozhikode, inmates were not allowed to use mobile phones from 6 pm to 10 pm. Shirin and a few others were sacked from the college hostel after they refused to follow the rule.
Shirin then approached the High Court, saying the restrictions have affected her learning as she could not access Internet using her mobile phone. The curbs on the use of mobile phones amounted to a violation of fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India, her plea said.
She said she wanted to bring a change in the mindset of the college authorities. “The restriction on mobile use was only at the girls’ hostel. The boys’ hostel did not have any such restrictions. Hence, I decided to fight against this discrimination,” she said.
Shirin said, “I am an English literature student and I have been clearing doubts by surfing in the Internet, accessed through mobile phone.”
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