What does privacy mean in the era of Modi and Yogi?
It was not long back in 2015 that the Supreme Court of India repealed Section 66A of the IT Act which enabled the arrest of anybody who posted 'objectionable content' anywhere in electronic media. The Section was repealed for its vagueness, however a similar kind of Act is again haunting the netizens of India, this time is Section 67 - which outlaws publishing of 'obscene content' in electronic form.
However, the Supreme Court of India also declared a little more than a month ago that privacy is the fundamental right of any individual, but some ministers do not seem to be interested in the Supreme Court verdict on Privacy. Recently a 19-year old S. Thirumurugan was booked under Section 67 of the IT Act and Section 505 (public mischief) of the IPC, for allegedly making abusive comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a private Facebook chat.
BJP district secretary K. Marimuthu, who received the message, as reported by The Indian Express was the one to file a complain against S. Thirumurugan. The both were Facebook friends and Thirumurugan had sent Marimuthi replies in 'filthy language' when the former sent the latter memes criticising actor Vijay's controversial dialogues in the movie Mersel.
When asked if this act breached the act of privacy, BJP Spokesperson said as quoted by a national broadcasting channel, "Abusing is different from criticism. Abusing an individual with filthy words cannot be encouraged. BJP is welcome to any kind of criticism but unhealthy or filthy comments made by anybody are not welcome. We all live in a society. I myself am very active on social media, but I don't encourage any unhealthy comments, and I never do that,"
18-year-old Zakir Ali Tyagi had to spend 42 days in jail for his social media posts, he was booked under Indian Penal Code's Section 420 (cheating) and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act (computer related offences). The 18-year-old made fun of river Ganga being a living entity and questioned the policies of the ruling BJP Government.
There have been several others who have been booked for posting 'objectionable' content about ministers on social media, which again raises the question - Has the repulsion of 66A of the IT Act shown been fruitful? And also - What defines what is abusive and what is critical?