Editorial 1: An Internet ban will not restore peace in Manipur


  • Manipur is going through internal disturbance and ethnic conflict over the last 2.5 months, and we as the people of India failed to demand accountability from our institutions to protect the fundamental rights of Manipuris. A large section of the Indian population is unaware of the scale of violence in Manipur because of the internet shutdowns and media censorship.

Internet shutdowns in India

  • Since 2016, India has accounted for approximately 58% of all shutdowns documented in the Shutdown Tracker Optimization Project (STOP database).
  • India has also beaten Ukraine, which is at number 2 this year. India is the only G20 country that has imposed an internet shutdown more than twice.
  • Data reveals that India implemented at least 84 shutdowns in 2022, the most of any country for year.

Governance of Internet shutdowns

  • Internet shutdown orders are governed under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.
  • The 2017 Rules provide for temporary shutdown of telecom services in a region on grounds of public emergency and give senior bureaucrats from the Home Ministry at the central and state levels the power to order shutdowns.
  • The 1885 Act empowers the Central government to regulate various types of telecom services including internet services and grant licenses for them.
  • Using Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: It justifies the communications blockade and the continuance of it, has been a rising trend.
  • Section 144 gives a magistrate the powers to enforce a general shutdown of the area if he or she believes that there could be violence in the area.

Criticism for internet shutdown:

  • The internet blackout and restrictions on movement has severely disrupted the lives of millions.
  • It has impacted everything, from college admissions to businesses filing tax returns.
  • The unavailability of internet has also severely impacted businesses.
  • According to ICRIER, internet shutdown had cost the Indian economy about $3.04 billion.
  • According to Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI), mobile carriers lost about $8 million a day for shutdown in any of the 22 circles where they operate in the country.

Related Court Judgements:

  • In Faheema Shirin versus the State of Kerala, 2019, the Kerala High Court declared “the right to Internet access as a fundamental right forming a part of the Right to Privacy and the Right to Education under Article 21 of the Constitution.”
  • In Anuradha Bhasin versus the Union of India, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled “that an undefined restriction of internet services would be illegal and that orders for internet shutdown must satisfy the tests of necessity and proportionality.”

Various Techniques Used to Shut Down the Internet

  • DNS Tampering: By tampering with Domain Name System (DNS), authorities can redirect or block access to specific websites or services. This can be achieved by altering DNS records, redirecting DNS queries to different IP addresses, or blocking access to certain DNS servers altogether.
  • IP blocking: IP blocking is a technique where specific IP addresses are targeted for blocking. Authorities can maintain a blacklist of IP addresses associated with particular websites, platforms, or services, and instruct network infrastructure to deny access to those addresses.
  • URL filtering: It involves selectively blocking or allowing access to specific URLs (web addresses). Authorities can employ filtering systems or firewalls that examine the requested URLs and decide whether to allow or block access based on predefined criteria.
  • Content filtering and keyword blocking: Governments can employ advanced filtering systems to monitor and block specific keywords, phrases, or content that they deem sensitive or threatening.
  • Throttling or slowing down internet speeds: It involves deliberately slowing down internet speeds to the extent that it becomes impractical or impossible to access certain websites or services.

Impacts of Internet Shutdowns

  • Economic impact: Data from global tracker Top10VPN shows that India suffered a loss of $ 184.3 million in 2022.
  • Disruption of communication
  • Limitations on education and research
  • Impediment to healthcare services
  • Impact on fundamental rights
  • An internet shutdown can hamper the reach of the on-ground-reporting and cause underreporting of local issues.
  • Disrupts political transparency


  • In an Internet ban, misinformation spreads rather than abates.
  • For Manipur, the video clip is a vital moment for a national awakening that must be achieved without any reputational and social harm to survivors of sexual violence and communal hatred.
  •  Information flows are also necessary to ensure the accountability of the State and central governments in taking steps to ensure truth, justice and reconciliation.

Editorial 2: The right approach


  • Bail should not be denied merely because police object to it strongly and Courts should adopt a clear-headed and common sense approach while considering the grant of bail, and should eschew the tendency to keep someone in prison merely because the police oppose bail with great vehemence.

Defining Bail

  • A bail is a legal procedure granted to an accused before their trial in court.
  • Through the means of this legal agreement, an accused can pay a sum of money to the court in the assurance of their presence in court on the decided date and time.
  • Bail is considered an important criminal procedure in democratic countries like ours.

Types of Bail (in India)

The Indian Constitution has a provision that offers every accused a fundamental right to apply for bail. It can be offered to the accused after determining the seriousness of their offence. Here are the types of bail in India.

1. Interim Bail: This is a temporary bail where the higher court calls for documents before a final decision regarding the bail application can be taken. After getting the documents, the higher court can decide if the accused will get permanent bail, an extension of the interim bail, or if the bail application will be completely rejected.

2. Regular Bail: This type of bail is granted to a person who is in police custody. People who are accused of minor offences (criminal or civil in nature) usually apply for this type of bail. People can apply for regular bail under sections 437 and 439 of CrPC.

3. Anticipatory Bail: This type of bail is granted by the Session Court or High Court, under section 438 of CrPC. Any person who believes that he/she will be arrested for a non-bailable offence can apply for anticipatory bail.

Legal position of bail

1. Article 21 of Indian Constitution: Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees the protection of life and personal liberty to all persons.

  • It guarantees the fundamental right to live with human dignity and personal liberty, which in turn gives us the right to ask for bail when arrested by any law enforcement authority.

2. Section 438 of Code of Criminal Procedure in 1973: The provision of anticipatory bail under Section 438 was introduced in the Code of Criminal Procedure in 1973.

  • The term ‘Bail’ has not been defined under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
  • Only the term ‘Bailable Offence’ and ‘Non-Bailable Offence’ has been defined under Section 2(a).
  • It is based on the recommendation of the Law Commission of India, which in its 41st report recommended the incorporation of a provision of anticipatory bail.

3. Universal Declaration of Human Rights under Article 11: The Bail provision, especially anticipatory bail, is based on the legal principle of presumption of innocence which means that every person accused of any crime is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Significance of Bail Provisions

  • Bail is an essential element of any criminal justice system, as it guarantees the right to a fair trial for the accused.
  • It is needed to safeguard the fundamental right to liberty, as mentioned under Article 21 “No person shall be deprived of their liberty unless prescribed so by a reasonable, fair, and just procedure”.
  • According to the Supreme Court of India, Bail is a measure to balance the personal freedom of the accused and the public interest. Therefore the release is conditional.

Way Forward

  • Bail is a mechanism that secures liberty to the accused without providing any unjustified benefit to them. However, it has been scrutinised that the practice of granting bail is quite irregular and unclear.
  • There are several judgments where the Supreme Court has observed that each case needs to be examined for its facts and circumstance before granting bail.
  • The rationality behind granting or refusing bail petitions must be to establish a balance between individual rights and the interest of society.


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