SC to hear PIL against Facebook arrest law today

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 30, 2012 04:53 hrs

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday will take up a public interest litigation (PIL) against a controversial law that was used to arrest two young women recently in Maharashtra for their posts on Facebook.

The apex court will examine the constitutional validity of the Section 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act.

The Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, directed the hearing of the PIL filed by Delhi law student Shreya Singhal.

Singhal has described Section 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act as unconstitutional in her PIL.

"I feel it is a violation of free speech, it hasn't been updated, and people are using it wrongly," Singhal told NDTV.

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.

Making a reference to the recent arrest of two girls for a Facebook post on Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray's funeral, Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir told media: "The way the little children were arrested, it outraged the sentiments of the country. The way these things had been taking place needs some consideration so that in future it does not take place."

"We were wondering why no one has approached the Supreme Court (over this) and even thought of taking up the issue suo moto," Kabir said.

Singhal in her PIL has drawn the attention of the apex court to certain incidents where Section 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act was misused.

Section 66 (A) of the IT Act, which was framed in 2008, provides for action against people for posting 'offensive' and 'annoying' comments through a computer or other electronic mediums.

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