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SC Issues Notice to All States, UTs on Use of Repealed Section 66A of IT Act

Section 66A had made posting "offensive" comments online a crime punishable by a jail term of 3 years.

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The Supreme Court on Monday, 2 August, issued notice to all states, Union territories, and registrar generals of all high courts on using Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, despite it being struck down and declared unconstitutional six years ago, news agency PTI reported.

"We will pass comprehensive order so that matter of booking people under scrapped Section 66A of IT Act is settled once and for all."
Supreme Court, as per PTI

The bench of Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai said that the matter would be heard next after four weeks.

Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000, made posting "offensive" comments online a crime punishable by a jail term of three years.

'Shocking': SC on Use of Section 66A of IT Act

Last month, the apex court had expressed shocked after learning that people were still being booked and tried under Section 66A.

The top court's observation came on a plea by NGO PUCL seeking a direction to the Centre to issue advisory to all police stations against registering of FIR under Section 66A.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, representing the NGO, submitted that even after the revocation of Section 66A, there were as many as 1,307 cases under it.

Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, contended that even if it is struck down by the division bench, Section 66A is still there, IANS reported.

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Days after the SC order, the Union government had directed the states and UTs to not register cases under the repealed Section 66A.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notice directing the police stations of all states and UTs to withdraw the cases registered hitherto under the repealed provision.

"The Supreme Court in its judgment on 24.03.2015 in the matter of Shreya Singhal Vs Union of India, had struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This made Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 null and void with effect from the date of the order, therefore 24.03.2015 and hence no action could be taken under this section."
MHA notice

The MHA order has also called for a sensitisation of all law enforcement agencies in order to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court's judgment.

(With inputs from PTI and IANS)

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Topics:   Supreme Court   Section 66A   IT Act 

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