India

The Supreme Court has ruled that Sec 66A of the IT Act should not be prosecuted

The Supreme Court has directed that no person should be prosecuted under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which has been struck down.

According to a three-judge bench presided over by the Chief Justice of India U U Lalit, the Home Secretary of India and state director generals of police have been ordered not to file any complaints regarding violations of Section 66A and to ensure references to the provision, which was deemed unconstitutional in the Shreya Singhal case in 2015, are removed from all pending cases.

According to the top court, the top court expressed “serious concerns” about states continuing to file FIRs for offences resulting from the provision when hearing the PIL on September 6. Advocate Zoheb Hossain, who represented the Centre, was instructed to “contact the concerned Chief Secretaries of the respective states where the offences are still being registered or stand registered” and to “insist upon” them “to take remedial measures as soon as possible”.

A status report containing statistics on such cases was submitted by Hossain to the bench, which was also comprised of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Ajay Rastogi on Wednesday.

The bench noted in its order that Section 66A was already held unconstitutional and citizens cannot be prosecuted under it. In all cases where citizens are facing prosecution for violations of Section 66A, the reference to and reliance on it shall be omitted.

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