SC summons attorney general over IT Act

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 29, 2012 10:30 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday asked Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati to appear before it Friday to clarify the government's position on a PIL seeking to strike down section 66A of the IT Act 2000.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar asked Vahanvati to appear before it after senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi told the court that section 66A of the IT Act violated article 4, 19 (1) (a) and article 21 of the constitution.

The section provides for action against people for posting offensive and annoying comments on websites or other electronic mediums.

The public interest petition was filed by student Shreya Singhal after people were arrested for violating the IT Act by posting comments critical of political leaders or events on the internet.

The court said: "The way things have taken place, it needs some consideration so that in future it does not happen again.

"Children were arrested on the charges of... and there was also a case of (arrest of) a professor of Jadavpur University that involved a chief minister's cartoon."

In April, Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra was arrested in Kolkata for circulating a cartoon depicting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

A young woman, Shaheen Dhada, and her friend were arrested in Maharashtra for a Facebook post questioning Mumbai's shutdown following Bal Thackeray's death.

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