How does this act came into existence ?
Section 66A of the Information Technology Act (“IT Act”), 2000, came into existence through an amendment in 2008. This section penalised sending “offensive messages” via online communication. provision was often misused by enforcement authorities and caused problems over freedom of speech on internet.
Case of shreya singhal vs Union of India
Two girls were arrested in Mumbai over criticising the bandh in maharashtra over demise of shiv sena chief Bala sahib Thackeray in November 2012. One of them posted illegal content while another one simply liked it, both of them were booked under section 66A of IT ACT and section 295A of IPC.
Although,both of girls were released and charges were dropped but this act invited criticism from all over the country.
Shocked by misuse of law by the authorities, Shreya singhal filed an PIL in 2012 to declare section 66A of IT ACT 2000 as unconstitutional.
On March 24, 2015 the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India passed a landmark judgement in this matter. The Hon’ble Supreme Court came out with judgement that Section 66A of the IT Act is arbitrarily and disproportionately affects the right to freedom of speech. Also, all the pending cases were directed to be dismissed and no fresh cases were to be registered under this scrapped section 66A of IT ACT.
Why is section 66A of IT Act in news in 2021 ?
Even,after this section was scrapped,many fresh cases were registered under this section of IT act. A plea was filed by PUCL ,it came into light that even after 7 years of the law being scrapped. total of 745 cases are still pending and active before the district courts in 11 states, under Section 66A of the IT Act. Supreme court have sent a notice to centre, demanding why this scrapped section is still in use and why not proper measures are taken till now.