Minutes after the apex court delivered a landmark verdict holding Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 invalid, Rinu Shrinivasan, one of the two Palghar girls whose arrest sparked a national outcry told The Indian Express that she feels vindicated today.
In November 2012, the two girls hailing from Palghar, which is a little over 100 kms from Mumbai, were arrested by the police for an innocuous post criticising the bandh called in wake of the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. The two were released on bail on the same day of the arrest. Following a public outcry, the government suspended two policemen.
Subsequently, a PIL was filed by a law student, Shreya Singhal and others challenging the constitutional validity of Section 66A of the IT Act. Speaking from Ahmedabad, where the 24-year-old has gone to shop for her brother’s wedding, Rinu said that people sympathized with her and found her arrest a case of police excess.
During these three years whenever anybody met me they questioned the police action. “Kya zarrorat thi ( what was the need)?,” they used to ask. While Rinu is happy that the apex court has scrapped the law, she says people should be careful while using cyber space.
People need to thread a line of caution while using the digital space. One needs to be a responsible citizen and ensure our actions doesn’t hurt others,” she added. Meanwhile, Shaheen’s family has also welcomed the judgement. “We are grateful that the apex court ruled in our favour. “The girl went through immense trauma but finally justice has been done,” Dr. AG Dhada told the paper.
Both the girls who were 21 when the case was first filed have moved on. While Shaheen is married and is now settled in Bengaluru, Rinu lost out on a year because she had to fight the case. Having moved to Kerala, she managed to complete her diploma in audio engineering last year and is now back in Mumbai .
By Rashmi Rajput