In its letter dated August 8, the representative body for telecom service providers said that, as per rules, the direction to suspend internet services can be given only by the home secretary, and in unavoidable circumstances, by officials not below the rank of joint secretary.
But the Rajasthan government has repeatedly watered down these provisions in 2017 by delegating the powers to divisional commissioners. Since February this year, orders for net and data blackout have been issued 53 times in Rajasthan.
The frequent “misuse” has caused grave hardship to the public by depriving them of services like net banking, online train and flight ticket booking and security and surveillance services.
The COAI said that in Rajasthan the shutdowns are ordered to conduct exams, which do not warrant a public emergency or safety situation.