HC issues notice to Centre on PIL against blocking website

Posted By: PTI
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Madras HC
Chennai, Mar 13: The Madras High Court today issued notice to the Union Department of Information Technology on a PIL seeking to forbear officials from blocking Tamil website "savukku" (whip) consequent to a single judge's order in a criminal petition.

First bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sathish K Agnihotri and Justice M M Sundresh issued notice to the Group Coordinator (Joint Secretary) Cyber Law Division, Department of Information and Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology returnable by four weeks.

The notice was issued on the petition by senior journalist T N Gopalan, who contended that the February 28 last order directing the blocking of the entire website appeared to have been passed suo motu in exercise of inherent powers.

The petitioner submitted that the website had brought several "misdeeds" like multi-crore scam in the Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) by allotting discretionary quota to senior Police officials and exposed several fake encounters.

He said the petitioner (advocate and television newsreader Mahalakshmi) before the single judge had only sought a direction to Police to register a case, alleging that some defamatory articles had been published in the website against her.

Justice C T Selvam, passing interim directive, had ordered immediate ban of the website (www.savukku.net) for being vituperative and tarnishing the reputation of several judges, IAS and IPS officers, advocates and others.

In the PIL, the petitioner said there was a detailed procedure statutorily prescribed by the Central Government for blocking access of information by Public. He contended that blocking a website without following procedures was violative of Articles 14, 19(1) (a) of the Constitution and sought a direction forbearing the centre and cyber Law division from blocking the website.


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