DYFI Welcomes Scrapping of Section 66A of IT Act

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THE Central Executive Committee of the Democratic Youth Federation of India in a statement issued on March 24, has welcomed the Supreme Court verdict scrapping the draconian law which allowed the arrest of a person for posting ‘offensive’ content. Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Describing the law as "vague in its entirety," the judges said, it encroaches upon "the public's right to know."

The law had been challenged first by a law student after two young women were arrested in 2012 for posting comments critical of the total shutdown in Mumbai after the death of Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena chief.

It was misused by governments to target their opponents and dissidence. A professor in West Bengal was arrested in 2012 for posting a cartoon of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Section 66A reads: "Any person who sends by any means of a computer resource 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 three years and with fine."

The DYFI has always been critical of the law that prevents freedom of speech online. Hate speech can be dealt with under other laws that govern the internet. The Section 66A is vague and allows the police arbitrary interpretation and misuse of the law. The previous government, headed by the Congress, said that the law was necessary to combat abuse and defamation on the internet.

Last modified on Monday, 02 November 2015 12:24
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