The Internet in the Indian Judicial Imagination


On the 14th of August, 1995, the eve of the 48th anniversary of Indian Independence, India began a new, and wholly unanticipated tryst with destiny – Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) launched India’s first full Internet service for public access [1]. In 1998, just a few years after VSNL introduced dial-up Internet, around 0.5% of India’s population had regular Internet access. By 2013, the latest estimate, 15% of the country was connected to the Internet, and the number is growing exponentially [2].

As the influence of the Internet grew, the law and the courts began to take notice. In 1998, there were four mentions of the Internet in the higher judiciary (the High Courts in States and the Supreme Court of India), by 2015, it was referred to in hundreds of judgements and orders of the higher judiciary [3].

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