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Section 66A: SC issues notice to Centre and four states
Last Updated : 30 Nov 2012 12:51:24 PM IST
supreme court
FB arrests:AG Vahanvati to appear before SC, to reply on Section 66A

 

The apex court, on Friday issued notices to the Centre and four states on section 66A of IT Act 2000 on a PIL in the wake of Facebook arrests.

 

The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Union government and states of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi and Puducherry.
 

Attorney General GE Vahanvati appeared before the Supreme Court to clarify the govt's stand on a PIL challenging the controversial Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000.

 

The PIL was filed by 21-year-old Shreya Singhal,Delhi student  regarding the Section 66(A) of the IT Act.

 

Shreya Singhal, who contended that "the phraseology of Section 66A of the IT Act,2000 is so wide and vague and incapable of being judged on objective standards, that it is susceptible to wanton abuse and hence falls foul of Article 14, 19 (1)(a) and Article 21 of the Constitution."

 

This controversy arose after politicians and cyber experts are of the opinion that the section should be re-written. 
 

 

Singhal's PIL also wants the court to make it mandatory for police to take permission from the magistrate concerned before taking action in Indian Penal Code offences involving the freedom of speech and expression.


Singhal said that the arrests of the Mumbai girls, Shaheen Dhadha and Renu Srinivasan for their Facebook posts left a chilling effect on her and other internet users.

 

She said section 66(A) was susceptible to 'wanton abuse' in view of the subjective discretion of the police.

 

Noting that the country was "outraged" over the arrest of two girls in Maharashtra over Facebook comments, the Supreme Court  on Thursday  decided to examine the Information Technology  Act to prevent recurrence of such incidents.
     

Hearing a PIL seeking amendments to the IT Act, a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J Chelameswar expressed surprise over how two girls were arrested in Palghar in Thane district after sunset.

While agreeing to hear the case, the bench said it was considering taking suo motu cognisance of recent incidents of arrest of people and wondered why nobody had so far challenged the particular provision of the IT Act.
   
"The way the little children were arrested, it outraged the sentiments of the people of the country.  The way these things had been taking place needs consideration," the bench observed

Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan, both 21, were arrested after Dhada had criticised in a Facebook post the November 18 shutdown. Shrinivasan had 'liked' the post. The two were later granted bail shortly after they were remanded
in 14-day judicial custody.

 


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