Facebook: Mumbai cops book complainant

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 02, 2012 17:23 hrs
Facebook: Mumbai cops book complainant

Mumbai Police continued to act without guidance over Facebook post cases and interpret laws in its own manner that put their own action in question.

After arresting two Mumbai girls over a post on Bal Thackeray´s funeral and drawing nationwide flak, they now booked a man who had lodged a complaint against two Air India employees for sharing lewd jokes on politicians and had got them arrested by the same police.

Mumbai Police have booked one Sagar Karnik whose complaint led to the controversial arrest of two Air India employees- Mayank Mohan and KVJ Rao- who had allegedly shared derogatory and lewd posts on politicians.

The two employees had to spend days behind bars after their arrest in May for the posts which also allegedly pertained to the Prime Minister and national flag.

But they had contended that they only shared the already available material on net.

Now the police, who had faced flak for their arrests, have filed a case against the man - Sagar Karnik- whose complaint led to the arrest.

"Now if they have filed an FIR against Sagar Karnik, it´s a clear-cut case that there was no need to arrest us in the first place. It is we who have provided the documents and it is we who have investigated the case for them," Rao, one of the two employees arrested, told national news channel NDTV.

Rao and Sharma were picked up by the Cyber Cell wing of the police and forced them to remain in custody for 12 days, said the news channel report.

India´s apex court has strongly reacted to the recent bloomers and high handed actions of the cops and politicians over Facebook and other social media posts.

The Supreme Court on Friday last issued notices to the Central government, as well as governments in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Delhi while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Delhi student Shreya Singhal, where she has described Section 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act as unconstitutional.

The apex court has directed the Maharashtra government to explain the circumstances that made the police to arrest two girls,Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan, in the state for a Facebook post on Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray´s funeral this month.

The state government was directed to file the response within four weeks.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar was quoted as saying: "The Maharashtra government is directed to explain the circumstances under which the two girls were arrested for posting comments made by them on Facebook."

Meanwhile, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, who was called by the Supreme Court to appear before it, clarified the position of the government and said the arrests were unjustified.

He, however, defended Section 66A of IT Act and said there was nothing wrong with it, reports said.

The court also sought the response of West Bengal and others over similar incidents within four weeks.

In the PIL, the Delhi student has contended: "The phraseology of Section 66 (A) 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."

"Unless there is judicial sanction as a prerequisite to the setting into motion the criminal law with respect to freedom of speech and expression, the law as it stands is highly susceptible to abuse and for muzzling free speech in the country," she said.

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