For the Delhi University law student whose petition was the first of the bunch that led to the scrapping of IT Act Section 66A, the two-and-a-half years in court have been instructive. “It was fantastic to be in court and experience first hand the judicial processes in the Supreme Court,” said Shreya Singhal, 24.
She wants to litigate in the future and draw from her experience in court over the last two years. “I am very happy that the rights of citizens of this country have been upheld. Article 19(1)(a) guarantees that if I praise or critique someone I can do that,” she said.
Perturbed by the arrest of two young women in Palghar, Maharashtra, for a Facebook post about Mumbai shutting down after Bal Thackeray’s death, Shreya filed a PIL in the Supreme Court in 2012. The petition urged the court to scrap Section 66A as being “violative” of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
“I spoke to Rinu Srinivasan (one of the two women) before the hearing today. It was a great injustice that was done to them. It could have been anyone who uses the Internet; I could have been arrested for expressing my opinion,” she said.
Reacting to the judgment, Shreya said, “I am overwhelmed.” She said the her faith in the judiciary and the judicial system has remained intact.
When she heard of the arrests in Palghar she was preparing to study law. Then 21, Shreya found it “fundamentally flawed” that a person should be arrested for voicing their opinion”.
Shreya adds that she has received much support during the duration of the court hearings with family, friends and even people she did not know congratulating her on her efforts. “I am very touched with the support I’ve had,” she said.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from University of Bristol and is the granddaughter of Justice Sunanda Bhandare. Her mother, Manali Singh, too, is a Supreme Court lawyer. A dinner-time conversation with her mother led to the putting together of the petition that came to conclusion Tuesday.