The Supreme Court has scrapped a contentious law that was seen as a major deterrent to the freedom of speech online, because it allowed the arrest of a person for posting offensive content. Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, introduced in 2000, has been declared unconstitutional. Describing the law as "vague in its entirety," the judges said, it encroaches upon "the public's right to know.
Section 66A reads: "Any person who sends by any means of a computer resource any information that is grossly offensive or has a menacing character; or any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine."
The court, however, allowed the government to block websites if their contents had the potential to create communal disturbance, social disorder or affect India's relationship with other countries.