Two articles based on interviews with Mehmood Pracha, the lawyer who is defending German Bakery bombing convict Himayat Baig, have resulted in the US-based website TwoCircles.net receiving the above summons from Mumbai police’s Cyber Crime Cell.
The articles are:
‘Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related: Advocate Pracha’ by M Reyaz dated 18 March 2014 - 3:35pm
Substantive evidence against police of aiding and abetting the real terrorists: Advocate Pracha by M Reyaz dated 19 March 2014 - 5:31pm
The summons ask Twocircles.net not only to remove the articles but also to provide details such as "the user creation details with IP address and time (hh:mm:ss)" and the “login-logout details of user viz. IP address, date and time from creation to till date" and "any optional email ID given by the user”.
The articles have Pracha alleging that the current Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, during his tenure as the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief, had falsely implicated his client Mirza Himayat Baig in the Pune German Bakery blast case of 2012, that killed 17 and injured 64.
Baig was convicted and sentenced to death last year. and Pracha also alleges that Maria has been using underworld don Ravi Pujari to coerce him to leave the sensitive terror cases relating to Baig and another high profile terror accused Mansoor Peerbhoy.
“It is submitted that a false and grossly offensive comments are found to posted in the above mentioned links, which are causing annoyance, inconvenience, insult and hatred to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai,” the notice says.
Pracha, on the other hand, argues: “If Rakesh Maria finds whatever I have said defamatory, he should send a legal notice to me. Rather than using section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act through cyber crime office, he should address the facts and reply to the issues I have spoken about.”
Most lawyers and human rights activists point out that regardless of the merits of Pracha's charges, the invocation of Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act is particularly problematic.
Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which prescribes 'punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.' is widely held by lawyers and legal academics to be unconstitutional.