Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Landmark Judgment

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court delivered a landmark verdict today, holding Section 66A of the IT Act (an amendment introduced by then Union Telecom & IT Minister Kapil Sibal) as unconstitutional and directly damaging the freedom of expression of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution. There are now several instances of the section being misused for political gains, be it the first one that came to prominence (two girls being arrested for speaking out against the Shiv Sena-sponsored bandh on the death of Bal Thackeray), which led to the original PIL being filed by Shreya Singhal, or the most recent one regarding a post against that tyrant from UP, Azam Khan.

The reaction of political parties was quite hilarious, with the Congress speaking in favor of the judgment, when it was their own government that introduced 66A. And then there was P Chidambaram, whose son used the act for precisely the kind of political gains that the Court struck it down for.
It was quite a sorry sight to see the Attorney General trying to defend the Act as well, knowing full well that he was asking the Court to go by the Union Government's assurances on interpretation, when it would be states that made that assessment.
However, this is only a small step. Indian laws are replete with language that allows the state to strike fear in the hearts of people. The patriarchal state that Nehru envisioned and created controls us all and dismantling it will take a very long time.

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