In a landmark judgment on the Right to Freedom of Speech on the Internet, the Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed Section 66A of the Information Technology Act that empowers the police to make arrests over contentious social media posts. It ruled that the law violate people’s fundamental right to speech and expression.
Here are 5 key observations that the top court made during the declaration of the verdict today:
1. The SC bench said the Section 66A provision had no proximate relationship with the public order and lacked defined criteria on its exercise.
2. The provision adversely impacted people’s right to know and didn’t make any distinction between advocacy, discussion on one hand and incitement on the other, the judges noted.
3. Section 66A could not be seen as a “reasonable restriction” on an individual’s right to speech and expression, the court said.
4. “Government may come and government may go but Section 66A will always remain on the statute…whatever is otherwise invalid cannot be held to be valid by making a statement that it will be administered well,” said the bench.
5. The bench upheld the provisions and the guidelines making intermediaries liable for removing objectionable content on being notified by the government.
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