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Judgement: Shreya Singhal V/s Union of India
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Judgement: Shreya Singhal V/s Union of India

Case No.:  WP 167 of 2012 21,23,97,199,217,222,225 of 2013 and 758, 196 of 2014

Date: 24/03/2015

Facts of the Case

This appeal has been filed before the Honorable Supreme Court pursuing to the article mentioned in the Constitution of India (Art. 32) against the amendment in the IT act section 66A with the prayer that such section is against the Rights provided by the Constitution under Article 19.

It started when two individuals (female) were arrested pursuing to post upload online on the social media platform known as Facebook stating contrary opinions against the closure or lockdown of the city of Mumbai amid the death of a political leader. The police officers made the arrest under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2006 that says any person by any way posting, uploading or by any way conducting such communication that results in anger, insult or instigation for any riots, state of enharmony and is offensive in nature should be punished by the procedure established by law. Later to this effect, the police officer who made the arrest released the women and dismissed their prosecution. Pursuing such arrest, the issue made public attention which attracted a lot of opinions and criticism over such issue and provision in that act. The women who were arrested on the grounds of Information Technology Act, 2006 then filed the writ petition under the Article 32 questioning the validity of the section 66A in the Act also posing a question that such act might be a threat to the freedom of expression provided by the Article 196 of the Constitution of India.

Issues of the Case

1. Is the arrest made under the Act was valid pursuing to section 66A?

2. Does the section in the Act posses any threat to freedom of expression?

Judgment

The Honorable Supreme Court of India in its observation mentions that the question that dwells the validity of the Section 66A of Information Technology Act, 2006 whether such law will be against the constitutional rights of freedom under article 19 that court said that though the Art.19 provide its citizens with the right of freedom of expression, and it does not provide the right without the restrictions under Art. 19(2) it states that: Article 19(2) permits the government of India to impose “reasonable restrictions . . . in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.”

The court further observes that in applying the distinction of the three head of expression, i.e. advocacy, discussion and incitement says that section 66A makes no difference will be prohibiting the communication on the internet it includes every aspect of expression which does serve the purpose for as a reason that mere advocacy or discussion does not result in incitement. The court further states that there, not proximity or nexus between the law and the objective it does for that reason specifically or in detail explains the communication of a person with other or mass dissemination of the information or message to disrupt the public order.

The court also said that the legislature fails to inform the court that with regard penal code no offence has been specified with annoyance, or inconvenience, danger, etc. The honourable court deciding the validity of the section states that no legislature has any meaning or is purely vague if such legislation has no purpose or the reason or rationale behind such legislation is not explained, where deciding the authority of the government in the section if not explained then such legislation becomes futile.  Due to its inability to define the term that if made, can be termed as an offence and can have a normal effect on the right of the freedom of experience by the Constitution. The Honourable Court further stated that there leaves no argument to say that the section 66A undermines or is in violation of Article 14 of the constitution.

The Supreme Court allowing the appeal invalidated the section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2006 in its entirety due to its violation of Article 19 of the Constitution of India.

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