FB Arrests: SC notice to Maharastra, Pondy, WB
By Express New Service - NEW DELHI
01st December 2012 10:34 AM
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the States of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry on the petition challenging Section 66A of the Information Technology Act under which two girls were recently arrested for their Facebook posts.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J Chelameswar said, “Maharashtra, in particular, is directed to explain the manner in which Shaheen Dadha and Renu Srinivasan came to be arrested in connection with the posting made by Dadha on Facebook.” As far as the Union of India is concerned, service of notice is dispensed with, the Chief Justice said as the AG was present after being served a copy of the petition.
The respondents were directed to file their respective counter affidavits within four weeks. Rejoinders, if any, may be filed within two weeks thereafter, the CJI said.
The AG told the Bench that he would assist and satisfy the Bench on the issue. He further said that there was a meeting of the Advisory Committee of the government in this regard and it was decided to issue guidelines on it.
“I do believe that your Lordships’ intervention in the form of guidelines is necessary,” the AG submitted.
The Chief Justice said that there are a number of incidents — one in West Bengal, the other in Puducherry and one in Mumbai.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for petitioner Shreya Singhal, a student from Delhi, said, “It is our belief that this Section (66A) is... unconstitutional. If your Lordships can direct that no case will be registered unless the DGP of the State sees it and approves… This is a vast country and thousands of police stations are there,” the counsel stated. To this, the Chief Justice said, “Wait for a while.”
When advocate Prashant Bhushan said that Common Cause wants to intervene, the Chief Justice said the Bench does not want to widen the scope of the petition.
The Chief Justice permitted Aseem Trivedi to be added as a respondent in the petition noting that he was also a victim of Mumbai Police in a similar case.
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