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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

AG to appear before SC, to reply on Section 66A

Agencies  New Delhi , November 30, 2012
First Published: 08:46 IST(30/11/2012) | Last Updated: 11:16 IST(30/11/2012)

Attorney General GE Vahanvati to appear before the Supreme Court on Friday when it would hear the PIL filed by 21-year-old Shreya Singhal, demanding the strike down of Section 66(A) of the IT Act.

Singhal's PIL also wants the court to make it mandatory for police to take permission from the magistrate concerned before taking action in Indian Penal Code offences involving the freedom of speech and expression.

Singhal, an aspiring law student, said that the arrests of the Mumbai girls, Shaheen Dhadha and Renu Srinivasan for their Facebook posts left a chilling effect on her and other internet users.

She said section 66(A) was susceptible to 'wanton abuse' in view of the subjective discretion of the police.

"I filed the PIL because I felt that the arrests ... were a gross violation of our right to free speech and expression ensured under the Constitution. I am a Facebook user and I feel a sense of camaraderie with all the people who were arrested," she said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday disapproved of the arrests of two youngsters in Palghar for questioning in their Facebook posts the Mumbai shutdown of November 18 for Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s funeral.

It agreed to hear a PIL seeking scrapping of section 66A of the IT act used for the arrests.

Dhadha, 21, was arrested on November 19 for putting up the post. And her friend, Srinivasan, was detained later for liking it.

“The arrest of two children outraged the conscience of many,” a bench led by CJI Altamas Kabir said after senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the petition.

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