Monthly archives "March"

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Supreme Court strikes down Section 66A of IT Act which allowed arrests for objectionable content online

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Section 66A of IT Act, the controversial provision which makes posting offensive material on social networking sites an offence punishable by up to three years in jail.

The said it found Section 66A of the IT Act “too vague and violative of 19(1)A of Constitution”

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Rohinton F Nariman delivered its judgment on a bunch of petitions filed in the light of misuse of the penal provision by government authorities against persons who allegedly uploaded offensive posts on social networking sites.

The petitioners, including NGOs, civil rights groups and a law student, had argued that Section 66A violated citizens’ fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

The government had opposed the plea for quashing the provision saying it is meant to deter people from uploading grossly offensive material which can lead to lawlessness by inciting public anger and violence.

Justifying the retention of the provision, the Centre had told the apex court that the impact of internet is much wider and restriction on this medium should be higher in comparison to print and TV.

It had said unlike print and electronic media, internet did not operate in an institutional form and there was need for some mechanism to put checks and balances.

The government had said the provision could not be quashed just because of its potential misuse. Posting pictures and comments on social networking sites which hurt religious sentiments could not be tolerated and people must be prosecuted, it said.

Source: The Times of India.