No arrests on posts on Social Networking sites without nod from Sr. Police officers – SC

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Supreme Court said that nobody should be arrested for posting objectionable comments on social networking sites without taking prior permission from senior police officials reports PTI

The apex court, which refused to pass an order for a blanket ban on the arrest of a person for making objectionable comments on websites, said the state governments should ensure strict compliance of the Centre’s 9th January advisory which said that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from senior police officials.

The court’s directions on arrests under Section 66 A of the IT Act came during a hearing on a plea that challenged the arrest of a human rights activist from Andhra Pradesh who was apprehended last week for posting allegedly defamatory comments against a Congress leader on Facebook.

The petitioner in the case, law student Shreya Singhal, has also challenged the validity of Section 66A and had urged that no arrests should be made under the controversial Section till the Supreme Court decides on her PIL. The court today said all states should abide by the advisory till it decides on the validity of the provision.

About Section 66A of the Information Technology Act : ( Introduced vide ITAA 2008)
Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,

a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the or igin of such messages (Inserted vide ITAA 2008) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two three years and with fine.

Explanation: For the purposes of this section, terms “Electronic mail” and “Electronic 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]

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