Social media triumphs: SC quashes draconian Section 66A of IT Act

Numerous cases of harassment and arrests because of messages posted on social media

GN Bureau | March 24, 2015


#Supreme Court   #section66a   #IT Act   #social media   #offensive message   #content  


Supreme Court has struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act and termed it as unconstitutional as it is violative of Article 19(1)(a). A bench of justices J Chelameswar and R F Nariman, which had on February 26 reserved the judgement, said it encroaches upon "the public's right to know." The law under Section 66A imposes punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, which seems retrograde in the digital age.  Maximum jail term under the law is three years.

What is Section 66A of IT act

The Information Technology Act 2000 was amended in the year 2008. This amended act contains the much debated 66A section. It imposes punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service.

Read More: Social media harassment and Indian cyber law



It applies to cases wherein:
a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or (b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device, (c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages.

Read from our archives: Bad in law

 


Genesis of the case
The apex court had on May 16, 2013, come out with an advisory that a person, accused of posting objectionable comments on social networking sites, cannot be arrested without police getting permission from senior officers.

The direction was issued in the wake of numerous complaints of harassment and arrests, sparking public outrage. It had, however, refused to pass an interim order for a blanket ban on the arrest of such persons across the country.

The court asked centre in December last year to clarify stand on the provisions that ensues arrest or be ready for such laws to be stayed.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had said that the Government did not want to curtail the freedom of speech and expression at all which is enshrined in the Constitution, but the vast cyber world could not be allowed to remain unregulated.

However, the court had said that terms like 'illegal', 'grossly offensive' and 'menacing character' were vague expressions and these words were likely to be misunderstood and abused. 

Here is the full text of the judgement: Click Here

Comments

 

Other News

How Homo Sapiens urbanised in the blink of an evolutionary eye

Work: A History of How We Spend Our Time By James Suzman Bloomsbury, 464 pages Among the many assumptions the pandemic has forced us to reconsider, those about work are already changing. The work-from-home trend is redefining what it means to be em

Mumbai on full alert against Omicron

After reports of Omicron, a new potentially contagious variant of coronavirus detected in South Africa, Belgium, Hong Kong, Britain and Israel, more European countries have reported cases, raising global concern and imposing travel restrictions.   The WHO has classified it as a ‘va

Five Ws of Gandhi assassination

The Murderer, the Monarch and the Fakir: A New Investigation of Mahatma Gandhi’s Assassination By Appu Esthose Suresh and Priyanka Kotamraju HarperCollins, 240 pages, Rs 399 The bloodied shawl has long since faded to a vague brown and now sports

13 states told increase Covid-19 testing

In view of several countries reporting surges in Covid-19 cases and many developed nations facing fourth and fifth waves despite high numbers of vaccinations, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has written to the states of Nagaland, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Kerala, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, J&am

PMC Bank proposed resolution: Areas of darkness at the end of tunnel

A few months after the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-Operative Bank Ltd (PMC Bank) was put under moratorium in September 2019, I met an announcer in a function on banking organised by an industry body, with which I have been associated. She was young, pretty beautiful and had a sweet voice and modulation. She

Atal Innovation Mission and Vigyan Prasar collaborate to engage with science and Atal Tinkering Labs

 Niti Aayog’s flagship initiative, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), recently announced to collaborate with Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organization of the Department of Science and Technology, Government o

Visionary Talks: Dr. Naresh Trehan, CMD Medanta Heart Institute with Kailashnath Adhikari



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter