The Supreme Court on Monday expressed “shock” and “amazement” above the method in which people were being even now getting booked under Area 66A of the Information and facts Know-how Act that was declared unconstitutional by the apex courtroom way again on March 24, 2015.
“It’s astounding and stunning. That is what I can say. Shreya Singhal is a 2015 judgment. What is going on in the place is awful,” Justice R.F. Nariman observed after senior advocate symbolizing the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) introduced to the court’s discover the continuing foisting of instances beneath the scrapped portion and courts having cognisance of the similar. The Justice Nariman-led bench also comprised Justices K.M. Joseph and B.R. Gavai.
Lawyer-normal K.K. Venugopal, on behalf of the Centre, sought two weeks’ time to file the Centre’s counter-affidavit on the matter.
According to PUCL, 745 instances filed less than Part 66A of the IT Act are pending in distinct courts until day.
PUCL has in its petition urged the apex courtroom to immediate the Centre to gather data on FIRs, investigations or pending circumstances in which Portion 66A has been invoked.
For the duration of the hearing, Venugopal submitted that Segment 66A is nevertheless there in most of the regulation books.
“When police have to register a scenario, the section is even now there with only a footnote that mentions that the Supreme Courtroom has struck it down. There has to be a bracket in 66A with terms struck down,” the country’s maximum regulation officer explained.
“You file a counter as it is a shocking condition of affairs,” Justice Nariman informed the AG.
In accordance to PUCL, the Supreme Court docket had in a subsequent order on February 15, 2019 directed the states and Union Territories to desist from invoking Portion 66A, but the police continue on to file situations below the provision.
“…the applicant identified that Part 66A of the IT Act has continued to be in use not only in law enforcement stations but also in cases before trial courts across India,” the PUCL said.
PUCL claimed the details was readily available on www.zombietracker.in — a web-site created by a group of unbiased scientists.
The site provides facts of such situations and acts as a device for practical mapping of the use of Part 66A of the IT Act throughout India. The conclusions of the website reveal that as on March 10, 2021, as quite a few as 745 situations are nevertheless pending and active prior to the district courts in 11 states wherein the accused people are getting prosecuted for offences less than Section 66A of the IT Act.
Hence, the PUCL has sought the subsequent directions:
⚫ Direct the Union government to make sure entire compliance quickly with Shreya Singhal by way of issuance of proper circulars/advisories tackled to the chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories, and the DGPs of all states and Union Territories, or equal officers thereof for onward circulation to the police stations
⚫ Direct the Supreme Court Registry to dispatch a duplicate of Shreya Singhal v. Union of India to all superior courts to move ideal orders in pending scenarios regarding Area 66A of the IT Act as very well ideal circulars, bringing Shreya Singhal to the see of all district courts inside their jurisdiction to avert failures of justice
⚫ Direct Centre to acquire and furnish info for all prosecutions invoking Section 66A right after March 24, 2015 right before the apex court in purchase to safe compliance with Shreya Singhal
On March 24, 2015, the Supreme Court docket arrived down seriously on the inclination of the authorities to jail men and women for submitting “offensive” substance on social networking internet sites and struck down the controversial Area 66A of the IT Act as remaining “unconstitutional” and in violation of the liberty of expression and speech assured by Short article 19(1) (a) of the Structure.
Although hanging down the legislation, the apex court docket experienced claimed the provision experienced been vaguely described to carry below its ambit any variety of impression expressed on the World-wide-web. This can be chilling deterrent on totally free speech, the apex court had stated.
Even so, no a single has been convicted so much less than the provision, although dozens of people are incarcerated in jails beneath the impugned offence.
Moreover Area 66A, the court had struck down Area 118(d) of the Kerala Law enforcement Act, which provided for a related punishment.