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Arguments in IT Act SC challenge end, judgment reserved

The Supreme Court Thursday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of section 66A of the Information Technology Act and other provisions of cyber law on the grounds of their misuse/abuse by the authorities.

A bench of Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman reserved its verdict after the central government told the court that a statutory provision could not be quashed just on the grounds of its misuse or abuse.

Addressing the court, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended that the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 in no way intend to curb the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the constitution, but at the same time. the enormous cyber world could not be left unregulated.

He made his argument while opposing the challenge to the constitutional validity of the IT act provisions raised by Shreya Singhal who had moved the apex court following the arrest of two girls Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan for posting comments critical of the Mumbai bandh in the wake of the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.

Thereafter NGOs Common Cause and PUCL, self-exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin and others also impleaded themselves in the matter.

Section 66A of the IT Act provides for proceeding against people posting annoying and inconvenient comments on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and other electronic media.

The government also told the court that it was not possible to rein in internet and thus the legislature should be left with some flexibility in framing rules to deal with the cyber related offences.

Update: Read petitions filed in the SC here.

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