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Singhal: Not very active on FacebookSinghal: Not very active on Facebook 21-year old law aspirant Shreya Singhal, a graduate in astrophysics from the UK’s Bristol University, daughter of Supreme Court advocate Manali Singhal and grand daughter of the late Delhi high court judge Justice Sunanda Bhandare, challenged section 66A of the Information Technology Act in the Supreme Court today under which two women were booked for a comment critical of Bal Thackeray on Facebook 10 days ago.  [via @sumit_nagpal and profile by Mint].

The section penalises anyone who sends “offending” or “annoying” messages through a computer or any communication device, with a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment. Two women from around Mumbai were arrested for sharing and liking a Facebook status criticising the bandh-like situation in Mumbai after the death of political supremo Thackeray.

Chief justice of India Altamas Kabir admitted Shreya Singhal’s petition and said: “We were wondering why no one has approached the Supreme Court (over this) and even thought of taking up the issue suo moto.” [NDTV]

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued for Singhal today and when questioned by the judges on her standing, responded: “She is a law student and a Facebook user, unlike most of us.” [via @aparatbar]

In her plea, Singhal noted: “The phraseology of Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 is so wide and vague and incapable of being judged on objective standards, that it is susceptible to wanton abuse and hence falls foul of Article 14, 19 (1)(a) and Article 21 of the Constitution.

She has sought to “reconcile section 41 and 156 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code with Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution”. In other words, she has asked the court to disallow arrest without warrant and police investigation without a magisterial order for offences under the Indian Penal Code or any other laws that involve the freedom of speech.

Further hearing in the matter is posted for tomorrow, when attorney general GE Vahanvati will appear before the bench on behalf of the government. [Medianama]

Meanwhile, India’s telecom ministry has issued guidelines to states ordering that police officers must obtain the prior permission of the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) before registering cases under section 66A. In case of metropolitan cities, the permission would have to be obtained from the inspector general (IG) of police. [Hindu Businessline]

Station level officers, like those who booked the charge against the bandh critics, would now not be able to do so if the guidelines were followed. But cyber law expert Pavan Duggal told the Wall Street Journal that the guidelines remained inconsequential without an amendment to the Act itself.

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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Aryan 2012-11-29 22:36
Henna Bakshi, a National Bravery Award winner was arrested for posting facebook comments against Chandigarh Police, when her car was stolen.

articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-09-17/social-media/33901476_1_bravery-award-facebook-page-comments
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Recommend! +1 Objection! -0 Rajeev Ranjan 2012-11-29 22:59
great move.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Copy of petition 2012-11-30 02:18
Can we have a copy posted here pls?
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 FYI 2012-11-30 14:28
Good initiative by the student. Such law students should get themselves involved in practical and meaningful litigation benefiting the country rather than just learning from law books through rote.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 xyz 2012-11-30 15:40
While I appreciate the efforts, why give so much hype to this? Everyday thousands of innocent people (particularly in rural areas) are arrested due to misuse of powers by the police and noone seems to be bothered.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 No Democracy 2012-11-30 17:23
So much hype is because we live in cities and social netowrking forums are a common platform where most of us spend some time on, whether we like it or not. Not for once taking away the plight of the people in the rural areas and attoricties by some in power. Hype is because from end timing to clubs, to arrests for not having drinking permits, its gone from bizzare to ridiculous in urban areas. We live here, we work here, that is why we are posting comments here. People in villages do not know about legally india.
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 srg 2012-11-30 18:39
because here some golden opportunity might come handy because of vast publicity. It is surprising that no one file PIL against the pending cases of poor workmen for dues such as gratuity etc. and the companies go scot free .. becoz mera bharat mahan
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Fed up with roadblocks 2012-12-07 14:35
Quoting xyz:
While I appreciate the efforts, why give so much hype to this? Everyday thousands of innocent people (particularly in rural areas) are arrested due to misuse of powers by the police and noone seems to be bothered.


If there is injustice in one segment it doesn't mean we cant highlight those who fight the injustice in other another segment.

Further this isnt hyper. Its a reporting of a PIL which seeks to redress the root cause of the problem relating to the misuse of 66A.
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 Bemused 2012-11-30 16:55
Now that a law school aspirant hass set such a fantastic precedent (no, she did it all without any help from her family, which doesn't have a clue about PIL and how it works), we can expect to see a slew of PILs filed by aspiring law school applicants. Hopefully, we will soon have a situation were no individual will be admitted to a law school unless he or she has filed a PIL, preferably two. Of course, this would up the standards for newly qualified lawyers looking for jobs. Every CV worth its salt will mention half a dozen PILs. Good going students. Keep it up!
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Tu dhak hai 2012-12-06 00:13
Absolutely correct, especially considering PILs are an important criteria for entering into law school. Wait a second its not, marks in the entrance test are.
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Recommend! +8 Objection! -0 critic 2012-11-30 17:13  interesting
why everywhere so much emphasis on daughter of so and so and grandaughter of so and so
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Fed up with roadblocks 2012-12-07 14:38
Quoting critic:
why everywhere so much emphasis on daughter of so and so and grandaughter of so and so


Thats how law works. Its the grandest family run business of all time.

That being said on an average a great lawyers son will usually be better than an average lawyer just because of the sheer experience he or she gains from observing or learning from the parent.
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 TryingMuch 2012-11-30 21:20
Daily Bhaskar has a quote from her PIL - "unless there is judicial sanction as a prerequisite to the setting into motion the criminal law with respect to freedom of speech and expression, the law as it stands, is highly susceptible to abuse and for muzzling free speech in the country."

There is one thing you learn as a lawyer as you age and mature. Using high flung words to describe rather simple things usually has the opposite effect of what ever it is you thought you would achieve by using the high flung words in the first place.

The key to good writing is not to try and sound like a poor man's Shakespeare, but to write clearly and to the point. As Ms. Singhal matures into a good lawyer, one day, she will realize how silly her writing of today was.

One last piece of recommendation - Don't try too hard. It shows.
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 GapYear 2012-11-30 21:25
DB also says this "She came back home in July for her gap year and applied for law schools."

Who the hell uses the term GAP YEAR in India? She definitely knows how to use media to paint a glowing picture.

Also, DB initially starts off by saying "a young Delhi law graduate" and then follows it up with "She came back home in July for her gap year and applied for law schools." So, which is it? Is she a "Gap Year" person applying for law schools, or did she already "graduate" law school?

Also, "critic" above is right. Why all the references to the lineage? Does that make her genetically more special somehow? Bristol is a crap school by all academic standards. Studying Astrophysics at a crap school still makes you a crappy graduate. Just saying.
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Recommend! +2 Objection! -0 Devottam 2012-12-01 18:28
What a bunch of losers comment on LI. So much jealousy and so much envy. Just cos a little girl got some spotlight on a PIL. Whats the matter yo? Cant crawl out of your tiny box?
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Fed up with roadblocks 2012-12-07 14:39
Quoting Devottam:
What a bunch of losers comment on LI. So much jealousy and so much envy. Just cos a little girl got some spotlight on a PIL. Whats the matter yo? Cant crawl out of your tiny box?


I concur!
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Recommend! +0 Objection! -0 Anonymouse 2013-02-23 16:11
Quoting Advocate Anirban Roy from Niti Cenral 2012/11/29/ comment dated 30 Nov 2012

"The 66A ITA Petition filed by Shreya Singhal in SC on November 29, 2012 was neither admitted nor was any notice issued. Its just that the Petitioner was asked to serve a copy of the Petition on the Attorney General…. Just to set the facts straight."

Was a PIL accepted on file or wasn't ? Will LI put out the facts please ?
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