Continued use of invalidated Section 66A shocks SC

Thousands of cases are registered under the section which the Supreme Court struck off in 2015

THC Bureau |

Supreme Court

Amazed and shocked by the charging of people with the erstwhile Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, the Supreme Court today issue notice to the government over the issue. The draconian section was invalidated by the apex court in 2015.

“A bench of Justices R.F. Nariman, K.M. Joseph, and B.R. Gavai issued notice to Centre on an application filed by NGO, ‘Peoples Union For Civil Liberties’ (PUCL),” PTI reported.

“Don’t you think this is amazing and shocking? Shreya Singhal judgment [which struck off the section] is of 2015. It’s really shocking. What is going on is terrible,” the bench told senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for PUCL.

Parikh said that thousands of cases have been registered under the section despite the fact that the apex court had directed all state governments in 2019 that police personnel should be sensitized about the matter.

Representing the government, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said that a perusal of the IT Act shows that Section 66A has been scrapped. “Now when a police officer has to register a case, he sees the section and registers the case without going through the footnote. Instead what can be done is that we can put a bracket just after section 66A and mention that it has been scrapped. We can in the footnote put the entire extract of the verdict,” he said.

Nariman said, “You please file counter in two weeks. We have issued a notice. List the matter after two weeks”.

The NGO had said, “That in spite of the order passed by this Court on February 15, 2019, directing that copies of the judgment of this Court in Shreya Singhal should remain available with every High Court as well as all the District Courts and that the police departments in the entire country, i.e. all States and UTs be sensitized about the said judgment, the facts mentioned above show that not only the investigations under Section 66A by the police are continuing but even in the trial courts.”

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