HC seeks state stand on IT Act section

Section was used against Palghar girls.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: April 17, 2014 2:11 pm

Section was used against Palghar girls.

Bombay High Court (HC) asked the state government Wednesday to reply to a petition challenging validity of section 66A of Information Technology Act.

The section stipulates a punishment of up to three years for “sending offensive messages through a communication service”.

Manoj Oswal,member of NGO People for Animals,challenged the section after he was booked under it for posting comments on a website accusing Pratap Pawar,brother of NCP chief Sharad Pawar,of usurping land belonging to ailing animal rights activist Lila Parulekar in Pune.

Cyber crime branch of Pune police arrested him for causing “inconvenience” to Pawar.

His PIL contends the section is “absurd” as it sets out the same punishment for a person who calls another a “fool” and threatens to kill someone. It contends section 66A cannot be used against individuals posting content on public forums.

Public prosecutor Revati Mohite-Dere told HC the matter was being heard by Supreme Court (SC). The court nevertheless asked the state government to file an affidavit explaining its stand and adjourned the matter for three weeks.

The recent invoking of the section against two girls in Palghar who questioned a shutdown after the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had stirred a controversy.

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