Amendment to the Telecom Suspension Rules offers little protection against arbitrary and prolonged internet shutdowns #KeepUsOnline

The central government recently 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. This amendment represents a missed opportunity for wider reform because it fails to incorporate directions issued by the Supreme Court in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India requiring proactive publication of internet shutdown orders and periodic review by the Review Committee every seven working days. Further, the choice of 15 days as the appropriate length of time for the validity of a suspension order will limit the utility of the recent amendment since most internet shutdowns do not last 15 days. Finally, the amendment was notified without any public consultation and the  government cannot shirk its duty to comprehensively evaluate and reform the legal framework for internet shutdowns by implementing such cosmetic changes.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at