Supreme Court strikes down the draconian Section 66A of IT Act

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 Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.

Mukesh Kumawat, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
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The Supreme Court of India struck down the controversial section 66A of the IT act, reported Business Standard on 24th Mar 2015. The act passed in 2009, criminalizes “causing annoyance or inconvenience” online or electronically.

The court said that the act violated the fundamental right to freedom of expression guaranteed to all citizens in Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution. The court further commented that the provision introduced in 2009 to the original Act of 2000, used expressions “completely open-ended and undefined”. Every expression used is “nebulous” in meaning.

This is a sane move by the apex court. Curtailing the freedom of speech on a popular medium like media and internet was uncalled for. The freedom to voice your opinion was suppressed. The act which claimed to punish people for offensive content was very vague. There can be no definition of offensive content. What may be offensive for one can be humor or sarcasm for the other.

The law has been used in a number of instances to crack down on those who posted critical or divergent political views. A girl in Palghar, Mumbai was booked for her harmless post on the death of Bal Thakrey. Most recently, a class 12th student from UP was booked for posting offensive content about Azam Khan, a minister in the state government.

We live in a time where the freedom of speech, opinion and criticism is indispensible. The internet has given people the medium to broadcast their views to the world. Any attempt to curtail the freedom of speech of the citizens reflects the orthodox and regressive outlook of the government. The Supreme Court has done the right thing by being modern and liberal in its thinking.

References:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/sc-strikes-down-sec-66-a-of-it-act-says-unconstitutional-violates-freedom-of-expression-115032400177_1.html

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/what-was-section-66a-749154

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