Prior approval must to arrest under Section 66A: SC

New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday said no person would be arrested under Section 66A of the IT Act for posting objectionable comments on social networking websites without prior approval from an officer of the Inspector General of Police-rank.

The apex court’s vacation bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Dipak Misra passed the order after hearing a plea by Shreya Singhal, who had petitioned the court against the arrest of an activist Jaya Vindhyalaya (who has since been released) under provisions of the IT Act on a complaint filed by an Andhra Pradesh MLA.

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties activist had allegedly posted derogatory comments on her Facebook timeline on Chirala MLA Amanchi Krisna Mohan and Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah.

Police had invoked the provisions of Section 66A of the IT Act and Section 120B (Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code against Vindhyalaya.

Thursday’s order came after Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra informed the court that the centre on Jan 9 this year had issued an advisory to the states on the procedure to be followed before police acted on complaints filed under Section 66a of the IT Act.

Section 66A of the Information Technology Act deals with punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, which cause annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will.

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