SC ruling "defining moment" for freedom of expression: Amnesty

Terming the apex court's decision to strike down Section 66A of the IT Act as a "defining moment" for freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International Tuesday said there are other problematic laws, including those on sedition and criminal defamation, that exist and need to be done away with.

PTI| Updated: Mar 24, 2015, 20:11 PM IST

New Delhi: Terming the apex court's decision to strike down Section 66A of the IT Act as a "defining moment" for freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International Tuesday said there are other problematic laws, including those on sedition and criminal defamation, that exist and need to be done away with.

The global human rights body said that Section 66A of IT Act has been used on several occasions to prosecute people for legitimately exercising their right to free speech online and has enabled arbitrary arrests and detention.

"Political parties have often spoken in different voices about Section 66A. The Supreme Court's historic decision is a crucial victory for free speech and expression and a reminder to the government about the importance of respecting this right," said Shemeer Babu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India.

He added that there are other problematic laws, including those on sedition and criminal defamation, which are still in the books.

"The ruling should spurt the government to repeal these laws and ensure that any restrictions on speech and expression are in line with international standards," he said.