Immediate Withdrawal Of Cases Under Section 66A Of IT Act Demanded By Centre

On March 24, 2015, the Supreme Court knocked down the controversial Section, which allowed police to arrest anyone for social media remarks deemed "offensive" or "menacing."

State governments and police chiefs were instructed by the Union home ministry on Wednesday to immediately drop complaints filed under the repealed Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act and to stop filing such cases.

The order came shortly after the Supreme Court expressed surprise that cases under the obsolete Section were still being filed.

On March 24, 2015, the Supreme Court threw down a misused section of the law that allowed police to arrest anyone over social media remarks deemed "offensive" or "menacing."

This month, the court was informed by the non-profit People's Union for Civil Liberties that 229 such cases were pending in 11 states. Following the abolition of the law, police in these states filed 1,307 new cases under it.

“Can you tell me what's going on? It's horrifying...shocking. On July 5, a bench led by Justice Rohinton F Nariman stated, "It is worrisome." The court ordered the government to respond by ensuring that police do not use Section 66A of the Act in First Information Reports (FIRs).

“It has been brought to our notice through an application in the Supreme Court that FIRs are still being lodged by some police authorities under the struck down provision of Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000,” the ministry said in an advisory sent to chief secretaries and director generals of police on Wednesday. The case has been handled extremely seriously by the Supreme Court.”

According to the ministry, all police stations have been instructed not to register cases under the deleted Section 66A of the IT Act, and law enforcement authorities have been alerted to comply with the Supreme Court judgment.

It ordered that such cases be withdrawn by the chief secretaries and police chiefs. “Any case booked in your state under Section 66A of the IT Act should be withdrawn immediately.”

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