Amid an ongoing debate on Section 66-A of the Information Technology (IT) Act — a controversial provision under which two Mumbai girls were arrested for innocuous Facebook posts — Ajit Balakrishnan, founder of Rediff.com, recently launched his book ‘The Wave Rider’. His book provides insights into how the law was actually passed without too much of a debate.
“The new IT Act with the requisite power to allow the Indian State to deal with information age challenges was passed by Parliament, without debate, within a month of the Taj (26/11) crisis,” writes Balakrishnan.Last week, the government decided to empower only police officers of the rank of deputy commissioner or above in metros and inspector general in non-metro areas to allow the registration of cases under Section 66 A of the IT Act.
Section 66A of the IT Act provides for a three-year jail term for a wide range of offences, including sending messages of a “menacing character” and “causing annoyance or inconvenience.”
“I am a firm believer that India has built-in democractic systems. We need to be careful how we legislate — the animal may look very different what we intended and we also need to be very careful about frivolous application of the law,” Balakrishnan said.
The book helps connect a lot of dots for those who want to understand what happened in the Internet space in the last two decades.
“I had a ringside view, advantageously positioned as I was, with a foot in both media and technology. The book is really about my journey as an entrepreneur,” he said.