66 A abolished! – Can anything be posted in social media now?

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Akash G, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down Section 66A of the Information & Technology Act today after hearing a clutch of petitions challenging it. The case has been closely followed, mostly because of its implications on the freedom of speech. So now let’s see what was the main issue with the 66 A. For that we will first analyse the 66 A act. The act mentions that :- “Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,— Any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character”. Here there was a problem with the wording. The words “grossly offensive” and “menacing character” were very vague. This was a lot miss used in the personal vendetta. UP alone had 399 cases in 2 years. MP started to keep a check on social media and they were curbbing the freedom of speech of people. 39 cases booked by Azam khan men for expressing anger about his “gunda raj” in UP. People used this to curb the basic freedom of speech of the people. Hence, it was questioned by many of them and this resulted in the striking down this act. So can anything be posted now on social media? No, contentious post may not attract 66a but any content which is obscene, mischief and public disorder will attract the act and will be dealt with a fine and 3 years of imprisonment.

Reference :- The Indian Express 25th March 2015, Wednesday front page news article on 66A. Article

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