The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that no person should be prosecuted under Section 66A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000, which it struck down in 2015, reported Live Law.
Section 66A gave the government power to arrest and imprison an individual for “offensive and menacing” online posts.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat issued the order while hearing a petition by the non-governmental organisation People’s Union for Civil Liberties. The petition had sought directions to stop the prosecutions under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.
The judges said that Section 66A is unconstitutional and hence no citizen should be prosecuted under this provision.
The court directed the director generals of police and home secretaries of all states to ensure that reference to Section 66A is removed from all pending cases, reported Live Law. The court also asked the Centre to direct states to take “remedial measures as soon as possible.”
The top court also directed all publications, which refer to Section 66A, to inform its readers that Supreme Court has struck down this provision in 2015.
According to the Internet Freedom Foundation, which was also part of the litigation, the latest order will provide immediate relief to at least 1,000 persons who are facing proceedings under the provision. It also said that more than 1,500 cases were filed after the Shreya Singhal judgement in 2015.