The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre's response on a plea alleging prosecutions even after the apex court scrapped Section 66 A of the IT Act under which a person could be arrested for posting “offensive” content on websites.
A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman said concerned officials will be arrested and sent to jail if the apex court order of March 24, 2015 scrapping the provision of the IT Act is violated.
Appearing for the NGO PUCL, advocate Sanjay Parikh said more than 22 people have been arrested under the provision of the IT Act scrapped by the top court in 2015.
Terming liberty of thought and expression “cardinal”, a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and R.F, Nariman said in 2015, “The public’s right to know is directly affected by Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.”
The first PIL on the issue was filed in 2012 by law student Shreya Singhal who sought an amendment in Section 66A of the Act after two girls – Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan – were arrested in Palghar in Maharashtra's Thane district. While one posted a comment against the shutdown in Mumbai following Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s death, the other ‘liked’ it.
In the wake of numerous complaints of harassment and arrests, the apex court on May 16, 2013 came out with an advisory that a person, accused of posting objectionable comments on social networking sites, cannot be arrested without police getting permission from senior officers like an IG or DCP.