6th July 2021
Article 66A, Information technology Act
Why in the News?
The Supreme Court found it “distressing”, “shocking” and “terrible” that people were still booked and tried under Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act despite the fact that it struck down the provision as unconstitutional and a violation of free speech.
What is article 66A?
It prescribed punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc. -Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device
any information which is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
false information 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 or
any e-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.
the person shall be punishable:
Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.
"e-mail message" means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, image, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.
Shreya Singhal Vs. Union of India
The Supreme Court, in the Shreya Singhal case delivered by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman in March 2015, had concluded that the provision was vague and worded arbitrarily , further it curtail the freedom of speech.