Chennai, March 24: "Technically I am a free man now. I am very happy," said AAP leader R. Ravi Srinivasan of Puducherry after the Supreme Court struck down section 66A of the IT Act on Tuesday.
Srinivasan, who is also a businessman, was booked in 2012 under the section on a complaint by Karti P. Chidambaram, son of former finance minister P. Chidambaram.
After the apex court judgment, the former finance minister termed the controversial section as unconstitutional and poorly drafted in a statement.Reliving the moments of his arrest by Puducherry Police, Srinivasan told IANS: "It was around 5 a.m. on October 30 when policemen knocked at my door. I was taken into custody, and my family didn't know for a long time about my whereabouts." He was let out on bail the same evening.
"The case against me is still on and the next hearing is slated for March 27," he said.
Srinivasan, the secretary of the Puducherry unit of the Aam Aadmi Party, had tweeted reports he had read about Karti Chidambaram, which led to his arrest.
He was arrested following an e-mail complaint by Karti Chidambaram.
Srinivasan said the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party had differing stands on such legal provisions, depending on whether they were in power or in the opposition.
Srinivasan was booked after Karti Chidambaram had complained against him
In Tamil Nadu, two people were arrested in 2012 on a complaint by noted playback singer Chinmayi for posting allegedly derogatory comments against her online.The former finance minister said section 66A was capable of being misused and in fact it was misused.
He said there could be a case of misuse of the freedom of speech and in such case the offender should be dealt under ordinary laws as Section 66A was not the answer.
DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin said in his Facebook page: "Today is a landmark day for Indian democracy. The Supreme Court has struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act as being unconstitutional."
The section gave police powers to arrest those who communicated 'offensive' content online and provided for a three-year jail term for the offence, Stalin said.
"While the objective of the section is to prevent the misuse of Internet... Section 66A is widely framed, which allows for whimsical interpretations by police and ruling governments," he said.According to him, the section has been misused to gag legitimate free speech online, and to curtail freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the constitution.
However, he urged social media users to use their freedom of expression with caution and responsibility.