SC – No arrest for posts on social sites without permission #ITact #Censorship


PTI

In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had issued advisory not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior official.
In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had issued advisory not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior official.

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that no person should be arrested for posting objectionable comments on social networking sites without taking prior permission from senior police officials.

The apex court, which refused to pass an order for a blanket ban on the arrest of a person for making objectionable comments on websites, said state governments should ensure strict compliance of the Centre’s January 9 advisory which said that a person should not be arrested without taking permission from senior police officials.

“We direct the state governments to ensure compliance with the guidelines (issued by Centre) before making any arrest,” a bench of justices B.S.Chauhan and Dipak Misra said.

It said the court cannot pass an order for banning all arrest in such cases as operation of section 66A (pertaining to objectionable comments) of the Information Technology Act has not been stayed by the apex court which is examining its constitutional validity.

In view of public outrage over people being arrested for making comments or liking posts on Facebook, Centre had on January 9 issued advisory to all states and UTs asking them not to arrest a person in such cases without prior approval of a senior police officer.

The advisory issued by the Centre says that, “State governments are advised that as regard to arrest of any person in complaint registered under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, the concerned police officer of a police station may not arrest any person until she/he has obtained prior approval of such arrest from an officer, not below the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP) in metropolitan cities or of an officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) or Superintendent of Police (SP) at district level, as the case may be.”

The apex court was hearing an application seeking its direction to the authorities not to take action for posting objectionable comments during the pendency of a case before it pertaining to constitutional validity of section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.

The section states that any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any information that was grossly offensive or has a menacing character could be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of three years, besides imposition of appropriate fine.

The petition was also filed regarding the arrest of a Hyderabad-based woman activist, who was sent to jail over her Facebook post in which certain “objectionable” comments were made against Tamil Nadu Governor K.Rosaiah and Congress MLA Amanchi Krishna Mohan. After filing of the petition, she was released by a district court at Hyderabad.

Jaya Vindhayal, the state general secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), was arrested on May 12 under section 66A of the IT Act for the “objectionable” post.

According to the police, she had also allegedly distributed pamphlets making objectionable allegations against Rosaiah and Mohan before posting the comments online.

The matter was mentioned before the bench by law student Shreya Singhal, seeking an urgent hearing in the case, saying the police is taking action in such matters even though a PIL challenging validity of section 66A is pending before the apex court.

She had filed the PIL after two girls–Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan–were arrested in Palghar in Thane district under section 66A of IT Act after one of them posted a comment against the shutdown in Mumbai following Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s death and the other ‘liked’ it.

On November 30, 2012, the apex court had sought response from the Centre on the amendment and misuse of section 66A of IT Act and had also directed the Maharashtra government to explain the circumstances under which the 21-year-old girls were arrested.

Pursuant to the notice issued by the apex court, the Centre had informed it that the controversial provision in the cyber law under which two girls were arrested for Facebook comments did not curb freedom of speech and alleged “high handedness” of certain authorities did not mean that it was bad in law.

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in its affidavit had said that an advisory had been issued to all the state governments, saying that due diligence and care may be exercised while dealing with cases arising out of the alleged misuse of cyberspace.

The Maharashtra Government in its reply had said the arrests of girls in Thane district were “unwarranted” and “hasty”, which “cannot be justified“.

The state government had also submitted an affidavit stating that the Thane police SP (Rural) had been suspended for arresting the two girls despite the instruction by the IGP not to take such action.

The court had earlier issued notices and sought responses from governments of Delhi, West Bengal and Puducherry where a professor and a businessman were arrested under section 66A of the Act for a political cartoon and tweeting against a politician respectively.

 

#India- SC to hear PIL on caste/region/religion-based Army recruitment


Sudan Block at the National Defence Academy (I...

 

 

 

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  March 18, 2013

 

The Supreme Court today listed afresh for hearing a plea seeking abolition of recruitment in the Army on the basis of caste, region and religion claiming it was violative of the Constitutional right to equal opportunity in public employment.

“Have you (petitioner) supplied the copy of the petition to

the Solicitor General (SG). Give the copy to the SG. List on April 10,” a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.

The court was hearing the plea of I S Yadav, a doctor hailing from Rewari in Haryana, seeking abolition of Indian Army‘s recruitment criteria for its duty soldiers on the grounds of caste, region and religion.

Yadav, in his plea, submitted that unlike Air Force and Navy, there is “discriminatory classification” for recruitment on caste/religion/region basis and submitted that a national policy of recruitment be formed in the Army.

“At recruitment stage there cannot be caste-cum- religion-cum-region based classification. There cannot be specific recruitment on the basis of caste, region and religion to various regiments like Maratha Regiment, Rajasthan Rifles, Dogra Regiment, Jat Regiment, etc. This classification of the army is a British legacy and is not sanctioned by any law made by Parliament,” he said.

“In Indian Air Force and in Indian Navy there is no such discriminatory classification of Squadrons/Fleets based on caste/religion/region and hence recruitment in Indian Air Force and Indian Navy is on all-India, all-class basis. Yet in Army alone there are caste/religion/region based regiments,” the petitioner said

 

Koodankulam plant: Anti-nuclear activists questions government in SC


By PTI – NEW DELHI

04th December 2012

The anti-nuclear activists Tuesday criticised the government in the Supreme Court for exempting the Russian firm involved in setting up Koodankulam nuclear power plant from paying damages in case of mishaps and fixing Rs 1500 crore only as maximum liability on plant’s operator.

“The Rs 1500 crore liability violates the principle of strict liability based on the foundation of Article 21 of the Constitution,” advocate Prashant Bhushan told a bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra, appearing for the anti-nuclear activists.

The submission prompted the bench to ask if in case of liability being more than Rs 1500 crore “will it be borne by the tax payers?”

“It will be perhaps be the burden on the tax payers,” it further observed.

The remarks were made when Bhushan argued that not only the Indian operator of the plant, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) will have to bear the liability of Rs 1500 crore but it will also not have the right to recourse.

“Rs 1500 crore liability is for plant operator who has no right of recourse if the damage is due to the defect in the reactor supplied by the Russian company,” he said.

He questioned the foreign company from shying away from the liability.

During the hearing, the bench also took note of the submission that the project was cleared without the detailed study about its impact on the marine life.

“We would like to see the report on the marine life,” the bench said.

Meanwhile, the NPCIL placed before the bench the status report on implementation of 17 recommendations made by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) on the safety and security of the plant after the Fukushima incident in Japan.

The Supreme Court court on November 21 had made it clear to the government that all safety measures for handling disaster must be put in place at the Koodankulam power plant before it is operationalised.

The apex court was hearing a bunch of petitions by anti-nuclear activists challenging the commissioning of the plant on the ground that all safety measures have not been put in place.

The corporation had said deep geological repository (DGR) for keeping nuclear waste is not needed now and it will be required only after a few decades.

A DGR is a nuclear waste repository excavated below 300 meters within a stable geologic environment. It entails a combination of waste form, waste package, engineered seals and geology that is suited to provide a high level of long-term isolation and containment without future maintenance.

 

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