The govt must either scrap or change Section 66A of the IT Act

TNN | Dec 10, 2014, 05.57 AM IST

While the government’s acknowledgement of this particular case as a misuse of Section 66A of the IT Act is welcome, it is difficult to accept its contention that the section itself is necessary. The truth is that in its current form it makes such misuse not just possible but probable. The offences under it are so loosely defined that almost anything, including causing “annoyance”, can attract penal action. It would be better if the government accepted that this section must either be scrapped altogether or worded more carefully to reflect similar provisions in the IPC dealing with things like promoting hatred, harassment, intimidation and so on. The underlying principle must be that restrictions on freedom of expression can only be placed where there are very strong reasons for doing so.

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