The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it was not averse to the posting of extreme political views in cyber space but submitted documents to buttress its argument that outrageous and offensive content hurting religious sentiments needed to be blocked.
“Extreme political views or contrary views and decent humour cannot be prohibited,” Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before a bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and RF Nariman.
The ASG, however, submitted documents indicating that those posts which had the potential of “outrageously and directly offending” religious sentiments needed to be prohibited.
The submission was made just ahead of the start of the hearing on a bunch of petitions seeking scrapping of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act for its misuse by law enforcing agencies. The hearing on several petitions, filed over the last two years, had to be commenced afresh due to the change in the combination of judges in the bench.
The first PIL on the issue was filed in 2012 by law student Shreya Singhal, who sought an amendment in Section 66A of the Act, after two girls — Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan — were arrested in Thane for having posted a comment against the shutdown in Mumbai following Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s death.