Row over J&K Net ban at House panel meet
The J&K administration had extended the ban on 3G-4G mobile internet excluding two districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur.
What’s the issue?
The main question that the committee posed was about the status of the Internet shutdown.
As per the Supreme Court judgment in the Anuradha Bhasin case, Internet services cannot be suspended indefinitely.
Following the orders, the Central government amended the Telecom Suspension Rules 2017 to insert Rule 2A, which specifies that an Internet shutdown order can remain in operation for a maximum period of 15 days.
Supreme Court’s verdict:
The Court said that all restrictive orders under Section 144 of CrPC and suspension of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir have to be reviewed by the administration.
The Court also laid down a framework of how the Internet can be suspended, and what rights and legal recourses a citizen has when it is suspended.
Observations made by the Court:
On internet restrictions:
Right to internet is a fundamental right (subject to reasonable restrictions) included in the freedom of expression under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
Restrictions on fundamental rights could not be in exercise of arbitrary powers. These freedoms could only be restricted as a last resort if “relevant factors” have been considered and no other options are there.
Suspension of internet services indefinitely is also a violation of telecom rules.
What procedure does the government follow to suspend Internet services?
Before 2017, Internet suspension orders were issued under section 14 of the CrPC.
In 2017, the central government notified the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules under the Telegraph Act to govern suspension of Internet.
Despite the 2017 rules, the government has often used the broad powers under Section 144.
The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 to further amend Arbitration and Conciliation Act.
Seeks to ensure that stakeholder parties can seek an unconditional stay on enforcement of arbitral awards in cases where the “arbitration agreement or contract is induced by fraud or corruption.”
Also does away with the 8th Schedule of the Act that contained the necessary qualifications for accreditation of arbitrators.
Added a proviso in Section 36 of the Arbitration Act and will come into effect retrospectively from October 23, 2015. As per this amendment, if the Court is satisfied that a prima facie case is made out that the arbitration agreement or contract which is the basis of the award was induced or effected by fraud or corruption, it will stay the award unconditionally pending disposal of the challenge made to the award under Section 34.
Until recently, an arbitration award was enforceable even if an appeal was filed against it in the court under Section 36 of the law. The court, however, could grant a stay on the award on conditions as it deemed fit.
RBI Data Localisation Norms
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has allowed Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp to start its payments service in the country in a ‘graded’ manner.
NPCI has given its nod to WhatsApp to offer payments services via the Unified Payments Interface.
What is UPI?
Unified Payments Interface or UPI is an immediate real-time payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI).
It was introduced in April 2016 as a pilot project and is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
As per the data- localisation norms set by RBI:
While there is no bar on the processing of payment transactions outside India, the Payment System Operators (PSOs) will have to ensure the data is stored only in India after the processing.
In case the processing is done abroad, the data should be deleted from the systems abroad and brought back to India not later than the one business day or 24 hours from payment processing, whichever is earlier. The same should be stored only in India.
The data stored in India can be accessed for handling customer disputes, whenever required.
The payment system data may be shared with an overseas regulator if required, but with the approval of RBI.
Some banks, especially foreign, that had been permitted to store the banking data abroad may continue to do so. However, in respect of domestic payment transactions, the data shall be stored only in India.
The data stored domestically must include:
Need for guidelines in this regard:
The payment systems in India have witnessed rapid advancements in innovation, eCommerce, and fintech, to name a few. It is only natural to ensure that the guidelines, prescriptions and regulations also advance in order to safeguard the interests of the customers, users, and the government.
Software Technology Parks of India (STPI)
The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) is investing up to ₹400 crore in setting up office and connectivity infrastructure across several cities, offering small technology firms a ‘plug-and-play’ facility.
About Software Technology Parks of India (STPI):
It is an autonomous society under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
Established in 1991.
Objective of encouraging, promoting and boosting the export of software from India.
The STPI’s Governing Council’s Chairperson is the Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology.
Other key objectives:
To provide statutory and other promotional services to the exporters by implementing Software Technology Parks (STP)/ Electronics and Hardware Technology Parks (EHTP) Schemes, SEZ scheme and other such schemes which may be formulated and entrusted by the Government from time to time.
To promote micro, small and medium entrepreneurs by creating conducive environment for entrepreneurship in the field of IT/ITES.
To establish and manage infrastructure resources such as Datacom facilities, Project Management and Consultancy and IT support facilities.