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Days After SC Rap, Centre Asks States Not to File Cases Under Scrapped Section 66A of IT Act

Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India

The SC was informed that 745 cases under this provision were still under trial in courts of 11 states.

Days after the Supreme Court expressed its shock over the practice of registering cases under a law which has been struck down, the Center has written to states asking them to refrain from filing cases under section 66A of the IT act.

In an advisory to the states and UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has reminded that this provision of law is now invalid. A statement from the MHA said, “The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has requested States and Union Territories (UTs)to direct all police stations under their jurisdiction not to register cases under the repealed Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000."

MHA has also asked the states and UTs to sensitise law enforcement agencies for the compliance of the order issued by the Supreme Court on March 24, 2015.

A statement from the home ministry said that a request has been made to immediately withdraw cases booked under section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 in the in states and UTs.

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Section 66A of the IT Act was used to punish online communication which is considered “grossly offensive, menacing or for sending communication which the sender knows to be false to cause annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will."

The Supreme Court had on Monday issued notice to the Centre on the use of Section 66A of the IT Act that was scrapped several years ago. A bench led by Justice R F Nariman had said that it is shocking and terrible that the judgment striking down the law has not been implemented even now.

The apex court had declared 66A of IT act unconstitutional in the case of Shreya Singhal vs UOI. But the SC was informed that 745 cases under this provision were still under trial in courts of 11 states.

“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," the MHA statement read.

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first published:July 14, 2021, 19:11 IST