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Post at: Aug 13 2021

Supreme Court Notice to Centre Regarding Section 66A

Why in News?

  • The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the centre giving it two weeks to respond on the issue of section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

What is the Issue?

  • The Supreme Court on 5 July 2021 came down heavily on the central government over people still being booked under section 66A of the IT Act, 2000.
  • The notice came during the hearing of plea filed by PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties).
  • The plea argues that even after 7 years of said sections being declared as unconstitutional as of March 2021, a total of 745 cases are still pending before the district courts in 11 states.
  • The plea said 381 cases have been registered in Maharashtra, 295 in Jharkhand and 245 cases in U.P., since the 2015 Supreme Court Judgement.

What is Section 66A IT Act?

  • Section 66A of IT Act reads: “Any person who sends by any means of a computer source any information that is grossly offensive or has a menacing character; or any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years and with fine”.

What was the Supreme Court Judgement which struck down the section 66A?

  • Section 66A of IT Act was declared unconstitutional in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India case on March 24, 2015.

Way Forward

  • Union of India should make aware to the general public that section 66A of the IT Act have been struck down by the court and is no longer a law.
  • The government should comply with the Supreme Court’s order of 2015 and restrict the use of section 66A of IT Act. Also, the arbitrary use of such sections are infamous to curb the right to freedom of speech & expression under article 19(1) (a) of Indian constitution.

@  Anubhav Upadhyay

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