Supreme Court: No Indian Should Be Prosecuted Under Section 66A Of IT Act

As per the Apex court directions on Wednesday, henceforth no person should be prosecuted under Section 66A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000, which it struck down in 2015.

Supreme Court: No Indian Should Be Prosecuted Under Section 66A Of IT Act

No More Section 66A

As per the Section 66A, the government had to power to arrest and imprison an individual for “offensive and menacing” online posts.

There was a petition by the non-governmental organization People’s Union for Civil Liberties. The petition was heard by a division bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat.

The petition was filed to seek directions to stop the prosecutions under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.

Calling the Section 66A as unconstitutional, the judges said that no citizen should be prosecuted under this provision.

The director generals of police and home secretaries of all state have been directed by the court to ensure that reference to Section 66A is removed from all pending cases.

Not just that, the court also directed the states to take the remedial measure at the earliest.

The Supreme court has also directed all publications, which refer to Section 66A, to inform its readers that Supreme Court has struck down this provision in 2015.

As many as 1,000 persons who are facing proceedings under the provision will get immediate relief said the Internet Freedom Foundation, which was also part of the litigation.

The Foundation said that after the Shreya Singhal judgement in 2015, more than 1,500 cases were filed

Section 66A in The Information Technology Act, 2000

72 [ 66A Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc. -Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,-

(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; or

(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,

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine. Explanation. -For the purpose of this section, terms “electronic mail” and “electronic mail message” means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, image, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.

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