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Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India (2020)

Case Summary


The case of Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India (2020) is a significant legal proceeding that addresses the right to freedom of speech and expression in the context of internet shutdowns imposed by government authorities. Anuradha Bhasin, a journalist and executive editor of the Kashmir Times, challenged the restrictions on communication and internet services imposed in the region of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.


In its judgment delivered in 2020, the Supreme Court of India recognized that the right to access the internet is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of speech and expression. The court held that any restrictions on internet access must adhere to the principles of proportionality and necessity, and must be subject to judicial review. The judgment emphasized that indefinite and blanket internet shutdowns are unconstitutional and directed the government to publish all orders imposing restrictions and to review them periodically. The court's decision reaffirmed the importance of the internet as a tool for communication, expression, and access to information in the modern digital age.


The judgment in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India had significant implications for the protection of freedom of speech and expression, particularly in the context of internet governance and restrictions. It underscored the importance of upholding constitutional rights, even in situations of national security or public order concerns. The ruling provided clarity on the legal framework governing internet shutdowns and set a precedent for judicial scrutiny of government actions affecting digital rights. The case also highlighted the role of the judiciary in safeguarding democratic values and ensuring accountability in the exercise of state power.

List of Linked Cases:

Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017)

Shreya Singhal v. Union of India (2015)

K.S. Puttaswamy (Privacy) v. Union of India (2017)

K.S. Puttaswamy (Aadhaar) v. Union of India (2018)

Association for Democratic Reforms v. Union of India (2002)

K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2019)