This Article is From Mar 20, 2015

Arrest over Facebook Post: Supreme Court to Hear Plea Today

Arrest over Facebook Post: Supreme Court to Hear Plea Today

File Photo: Supreme Court.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court will today hear an application seeking explanation from the Uttar Pradesh Government for arresting a school student for allegedly sharing a post criticising senior Minister Azam Khan, on a social networking site.

The student hails from Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh.

As counsel Manali Singhal mentioned the application before the apex court bench of Justice Anil R Dave, Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Kurian Joseph soon after the court assembled after lunch, Justice Chelameswar permitted the filing of the application saying that it would be taken up today.

Soon after Manali Singhal mentioned the application, the counsel for Uttar Pradesh Government said the student, who was remanded to 14-day judicial custody, has been let off on bail. He was booked under various sections of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Indian Penal Code.

As the court was told that boy has been granted bail, Justice Chelameswar who along with Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman had heard and reserved verdict on a batch of petitions challenging Section 66A of IT Act, 2000, said they may pronounce judgment either on March 23 or March 24.

"If we uphold the challenge to Section 66A of IT Act, 2000 then you can seek relief accordingly or if the challenge to Section 66A is not accepted then you can take recourse to remedies under criminal law," Justice Chelameswar told Manali Singhal.

Manali Singhal told the court that in the course of the hearing of petition by Shreya Singhal challenging Section 66A of IT Act, 2000 as unconstitutional, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre had contended that the provision of the IT Act would not be invoked against those making political criticism.

Urging the court to hear the application moved by her seeking relief for the accused, Manali Singhal told the court to let Uttar Pradesh government explain the circumstance under which the student was arrested invoking Section 66A.

Shreya Singhal had moved the Supreme Court November 2012 seeking the striking down of Section 66A which was resorted to by the authorities to arrest two young girls who had questioned the Mumbai shutdown after the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray on November 17.

Ms Singhal had contended that the section was vague and impossible to judge by objective standards, and thus liable to misuse.

Section 66A of the IT Act 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."