Here are some of the most intriguing dos and don'ts laid under IT Act to bring forth the crucial cyberlaws laid down by the law bodies
The recent Facebook Bombay arrests have been the tipping point for generating public debates these days. What's interesting to note is that our country's law has allowed such cases to succumb to their fate.
In this particular case, the bigger question is what was the need for arresting the two girls? Perhaps the country's law grants this action.
To give a little background, this case was registered under Section 505 IPC and also Section 66A of the amended Information Technology Act, 2000.
"While Section 66A talks about sending any information that is grossly offensive or having menacing character; the law does not give any guidance as to what is grossly offensive or information having menacing character. Thus, it is left to the subjective description of the law-enforcement agencies in this regard," informs Pavan Duggal, cyberlaw expert and practicing advocate at the Supreme court of India. He is also the president of Cyberlaws.net.
The Law Ministry was not however available for any comments on this; but Section 66A can be effectively used as a tool for gagging legitimate free online speech considering past few cases.
So, What exactly does the Information Technology Act, 2000 lists' as Dos and Don'ts under section 66A?
Section 66A has been devised in very wide terms and includes various kinds of online speech which could be brought within the ambit of criminal penalty.
It creates a new offence under Chapter XI of the Indian Information Technology Act 2000. This new offence has been created by the government by virtue of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008. The said amendments came into effect from 27th October, 2009.
Section 66A makes it an offence when you send, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any of the following information:a) that is grossly offensive; b) that has menacing character c) which you know to be false but which is sent for purposes of causing annoyance, inconvenience, causing danger, causing obstruction, causing insult, causing injury, hatred, animity and ill will. (This act of sending must be done persistently by making use of such computer resource or communication device) any e-mail or electronic mail messages for the purposes of causing annoyance, inconvenience; any e-mail or electronic mail messages to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages; If you do any of the aforesaid activities, you have to be prepared for jail term.
The Section 66A provides for imprisonment which could extend to 3 years and fine.
Given the established jurisprudence of the country, the Supreme Court has been very clear.The police officer must be able to justify the arrest apart from his power to do so. Further, the Delhi High Court has effectively held that the power to arrest is altogether different from the need to arrest.