The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, seeking an explanation over the arrest of a Class XI student for allegedly posting “objectionable” comments on Facebook against Samajwadi Party leader and state minister Azam Khan.
A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Rohinton F Nariman issued a notice to the state government, even as its counsel defended the action saying the post was “derogatory and inflammatory”.
The state counsel further argued that the person, who has now been let out on bail, was 23-year-old and that he was not arrested only under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which empower police to make arrests over contentious posts. The counsel said there were additional charges against him, including IPC Sections 153A (spreading enmity among people on religious grounds), 504 and 505 (deliberate mischief).
The bench, however, asked the counsel to file a detailed affidavit explaining the circumstances that led to the arrest of the youth.
“File your written reply… we will examine it. We are issuing a notice. If this has nothing to do with Section 66A, we will see at such time,” observed the bench, giving the UP government four weeks to file a counter affidavit.
During the hearing, senior advocate Soli Sorabjee, who appeared for applicant Shreya Singhal, made a submission on staying the operation of Section 66A. The court said that every law was bound to be abused and that alone could not be a reason to stay the operation of a statute.