SC to hear plea against govt action for online comments
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a plea seeking to restrain government authorities from taking any coercive action against anyone for posting alleged objectionable comments on social networking sites.
An application was filed before the apex court seeking its direction to the authorities not to take action for posting such comments during the pendency of a case before it pertaining to constitutional validity of section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
The section states that any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any information that was grossly offensive or has a menacing character could be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of three years, besides imposition of appropriate fine.
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra will also hear the plea for release of Hyderabad-based woman activist who was arrested and sent to jail over her Facebook post in which certain "objectionable" comments were made against Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah and Congress MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan.
Jaya Vindhayal, the state general secretary of People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), was remanded on May 13 in judicial custody for 12 days following her arrest the previous day under section 66A of the IT Act for the "objectionable" post.
According to the police, she had also allegedly distributed pamphlets making objectionable allegations against Rosaiah and Mohan before posting the comments online.
The matter was mentioned before the bench by law student Shreya Singhal, seeking an urgent hearing in the case, saying the police is taking action in such matters even though a PIL challenging validity of section 66A is pending before the apex court.
She had filed the PIL after two girls--Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan--were arrested in Palghar in Thane district under section 66A of IT Act after one of them posted a comment against the shut down in Mumbai following Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray's death and the other 'liked' it.