New Delhi, November 29, 2012




Referring to the recent arrests over Facebook comments, Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said “we were considering taking suo motto cognizance of these incidents”.

The Supreme Court will on Thursday examine the constitutional validity of Section 66A of the IT Act in the wake of recent arrests of people for posting comments critical of politicians.

The apex court headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir directed the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL).

The petition was filed by Shreyansh Singhal, drawing the court’s attention to the large-scale misuse of section 66A.

The section provides for action against people for posting offensive and annoying comments on websites or other electronic mediums.

As senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi mentioned the matter before the court, the chief justice observed: “We were wondering why nobody has filed a petition on the issue. In fact we were considering taking suo motto cognizance of these incidents.”

The PIL petitioner has drawn the attention of the court on some incidents of misuse of section 66A of the IT Act.

In April, Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra was arrested in Kolkata for circulating a cartoon depicting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

More recently, a young woman, Shaheen Dhada, and her friend were arrested in Maharashtra for a Facebook post questioning Mumbai’s shutdown following Bal Thackeray’s death.