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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Facebook arrests misuse but law to stay, says Sibal

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 24, 2012
First Published: 01:15 IST(24/11/2012) | Last Updated: 01:17 IST(24/11/2012)

IT minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said section 66A of the Information Technology Act — a provision under which two Mumbai girls were arrested — cannot be knocked off as it is essential to govern internet content.

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Shaheen Dadha and Renu Srinivasan, both 21, were arrested Monday after Dadha protested the Mumbai shutdown after Bal Thackeray’s funeral on Facebook and Renu ‘liked’ it. They were later released on bail.

Section 66A of the IT Act provides for a three-year jail term for a range of offences including sending messages of a “menacing character” and “causing annoyance or inconvenience”.

Sibal said the arrests were a "gross misuse of the provision", adding that what is required is a "reasonable law which is exercised reasonably".

"We can’t have the law scrapped as it has been misused," Sibal told HT, adding that he has convened a meeting of activists, industry and other stakeholders on November 29 to deliberate on the issue.

"The immense flow of information on the internet is highly empowering for the people. We do not want to interrupt that process," he said.

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