Facebook arrest storm hits Supreme Court; Ind awaits justice

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Supreme Court
New Delhi, Nov 30: India has been waiting for justice and today all attention will be on Supreme Court which would take up a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Shreya Singhal.

Singhal, a student of law in Delhi University, challenged the existing Information and Technology (IT) act of Section 66(A) citing the recent arrests in Palghar, Maharashtra over comments on social networking site Facebook.

"I feel it is a violation of free speech; it hasn't been updated, and people are using it wrongly,"said Singhal while terming the act as "unconstitutional".

Facebook, Twitter and email users had expressed relief when the apex court on Thursday accepted Singhal's PIL. Referring to arrests of two Palghar girls, Chief Justice of India Altmas Kabir said, "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 the future it does not take place."

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

What is Section 66(A) of the IT Act?

Section 66(A) of the IT Act, which was framed in 2008, empowers the government and judiciary to send the guilty to jail for at least three years.

Any person who is found guilty of sending "offensive" or "annoying" messages through a computer or communication device will face the punishment.

According to critics, the law needs to be reworded more precisely, so that potential violations are clearly explained. Moreover, an online petition aimed at amending Section 66(A) of the Information Technology (IT) Act and re-examining internet laws has garnered 3,000 signatures.

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