"Section 66A is unconstitutional and we have no hesitation in striking it down," said Justice R F Nariman, reading out the judgement. "The public's right to know is directly affected by section 66A."
The Information Technology Act 2000 was amended in the year 2008 and this amended act contains the 66A section. Under this section, "Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device, —
- any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
- any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,
- any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages,
- Recently, a class XII student was arrested for posting about Uttar Pradesh Minister Azam Khan on his Facebook timeline.
- Businessman Ravi Srinivasan was booked by police for allegedly tweeting that the son of then union minister P Chidambaram, Karti Chidambaram, was 'corrupt'.
- Last year, Devu Chodankar was arrested in Goa for writing on Goa+, a popular Facebook forum with over 47,000 members, that if elected to power, Modi would unleash a 'holocaust'.
- Ambikesh Mahapatra, a Jadavpur University professor, was arrested in Kolkata for forwarding a cartoon about Mamata Banerjee.