Tuesday morning brought in a pleasant news to the entire nation as the highest judicial authority of India, the Supreme Court announced its decision to strike down Section 66A of Information and Technology Act.
The Section 66A gave the police and officials the authority to arrest anyone over there posts and opinions on the internet. The section was highly debated as the judgements on controversial matters may vary from official to official, but majorly it was debated for being an important step against the freedom of speech, a key ingredient of the Democracy.
The Supreme Court gave its reasons for the judgement.The court said that Section 66 A is unconstitutional because it failed two major tests – the clear and present danger test and the tendency to create public disorder test. The court also found the language used in the Section vague and nebulous saying it doesn’t properly define words like ‘offensive’ or even ‘persistent’.
However, the Apex Court still upheld the government’s right to block content on the internet, if judged inappropriate.
The Court also cited its concerns for future saying, it can’t go by government assurances that the Section won’t be misused as any assurance would not bind on successive governments. Section 66 A it said, would have to be judged on its own merits as per The Hindu
The terms used for classifying content as ‘grossly offensive’ and ‘of menacing character’, were considered vague expressions by the court. The intention of making ‘Freedom Of Speech and Expression’ relevant but also with regulating the content on Internet has been made clear by the Supreme Court.
The matter first caught fire when two girls were arrested in Mumbai for an online post against the shut-down in Maharashtra due to demise of politician Balasaheb Thackeray in 2012. The first PIL (public interest litigation) was filed thereafter by a law student in 2012, and since it has been a raging topic on social media.
The news is warmly greeted by tweets from all over
SC made appropriate decision, Section 66A was antithesis of freedom of speech & expression: Cong leader Manish Tewari #SocialMediaVerdict
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) March 24, 2015
— sree surya (@sreesurya5) March 24, 2015
All TV channels must be looking for someone who supports #Sec66A to have the contrarian view. You know what to do if you want to come on TV.
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) March 24, 2015
SC on Govt’s assurance that #Sec66A won’t be abused: “Govt come n go but sec 66A will remain forever.” SC is indeed guardian of our rights!
— Dr. Munish Raizada (@DrMunishRaizada) March 24, 2015