Democratic India was shocked in November when two girls were arrested in Palghar for a Facebook comment questioning virtual shut down in Mumbai following Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s death. Days later, a 19-year-old boy was questioned by the police in the same town Palghar over an alleged Facebook post against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray.
Cartoonist Assem Trivedi was arrested in September under sedition charges for drawing cartoons insulting Indian emblems, including the Constitution, during Anna Hazare`s anti-corruption movement in Mumbai in December 2011. He was later granted bail by Bombay High Court.
Also, following uproar in the Parliament, Union Minister Kapil Sibal announced withdrawal of a controversial Ambedkar cartoon from NCERT textbooks.
With social media growing in importance, the rules that govern the medium came under Supreme Court’s scrutiny this year.
Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to scrap Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the SC on November 30 issued notices to the Central government as well as four states, including Maharashtra, West Bengal, Puducherry and Delhi, where similar incidents had happened in the recent past.
Later, Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said the government is planning to send advisories to state governments to ensure that arrests under the IT Act should not be made without approval from higher authorities.