After India’s Supreme Court expressed its displeasure, the federal government on Wednesday asked the States and Union Territories not to register cases under the repealed Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 related to posting online comments.
The Supreme Court in 2015 had struck down the controversial Section 66A of the IT Act that made posting “offensive” comments online a crime punishable by jail, after a long campaign by defenders of free speech.
However, recently, the apex court had said that it was “shocking” that the judgment striking down the law has not been implemented even now.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in a note dated July 14, 2021, has requested the States and Union Territories to direct all police stations under their jurisdiction not to register cases under the repealed Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, PTI reported from New Delhi.
The MHA statement said it has also directed the States and federal government-governed areas (UTs) to “sensitise” law enforcement agencies for the compliance of the order issued by the Supreme Court on March 24, 2015.
What would be a big relief that if any case has been booked in the States and UTs under section 66A of the IT Act, 2000, those cases will have to be immediately withdrawn.
The Supreme Court in its judgment on March 24, 2015 in the matter of Shreya Singhal Vs. Union of India had struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This made Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 null and void with effect from the date of the order and hence no action could be taken under this section.
The section of the law provided police power to arrest a person for posting “offensive” content online and had provisions for a three-year jail term.
The Supreme Court early this month issued a notice to the federal government on the use of Section 66A of the IT Act and said that it was shocking that the judgment striking down the law has not been implemented even now.