Article 19 simply says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression, this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Founding Section 66A of the act to be very discretionary and dangerous for free speech, an independent Member of Rajya Sabha, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who had also supported Modi for PM and is also a champion for right to freedom of expression had also filed PIL in Supreme Court in January last year in which he challenged not only Section 66A but also the entire IT act and sought its annulment.
In his opinion, Section 66A is arbitrary and uncanalized and violates the fundamental rights of citizens under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution. P. Rajeeve, another Member of Parliament had also has termed Section 66A draconian and had sought its review and amendment.
Section 66A has also been challenged
by students to ordinary citizens and various citizens’
organizations like Centre for Internet and Society, Software Freedom
Law Centre. Pranesh Prakash from Centre for Internet and Society has
been constantly calling that Section 66A violates Article 19 of our
There are two challenges for Modi’s government. First, to prevent misuse of section 66A and second to open a discussion with society and stakeholders as the current law poses risk to our democracy and violate the constitutional rights of freedom and speech and expression on social media. The element of discretion and ambiguity in understanding and application of section 66a needs to reviewed and removed. No Law can violate fundamental rights of citizen.
Internet is a direct mode of speech by people; it is a kind of some replacement for rallies and discussions without a physical congregation. It is a new age 'Chaupal'. Its freedom is necessary. The ways to regulate it will be found out by the users itself in due course of time.
A free Internet is important for democracy and society to converse and connect. There is an urgent need to review entire IT Rules and Section 66A and replace them with a set of rules that allows freedom of speech and expression as our constitution guarantees.
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