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SC Ruling on Section 66A Rattles Cops

Published: 25th March 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2015 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

 VISAKHAPATNAM: With the city having earned the dubious distinction of topping the list of cyber crimes, the Supreme Court order on the Section 66A has further worsened things by making police helpless as the ruling means no cases can be booked against individuals for making abusive comments in social media.

The Cyber Crime Police unit was set up in 2012, and has seen 700 cases so far. According to statistics available with the the cyber crime department, 197 cases are related to Section 66A, including cases of misuse of social media sites by youngsters and photo morphing. About 118 cases have been disposed of.

But with Supreme Court Tuesday striking down the Section 66A of the IT Act which vests police with powers to nab miscreants who post abusive posts on social media, the scenario has changed. However, the court has allowed the government to block websites if the content is objectionable or if the government feels that the content creates disturbance to society.

Reacting to this, one of the police officers from Cyber crime department said that if the government deletes Section 66A, miscreants cannot be controlled. Taking advantage of this, youngsters can defame or blackmail anybody through social media sites. “Freedom of speech is quite necessary, but if the Supreme Court has ruled against such a Section, it will give people the freedom to express their views, while simultaneously allowing certain individuals to exploit that freedom by posting abusive comments without fear of being taken to task,” said N Mahitha, a student from Andhra University Journalism department.

Another senior police officer from the city said that cyber crimes related to abusive comments on social media targetting girls for revenge were on the rise. There are some cases in India where girls take extreme measures because of the damaging nature of such posts. Against this backdrop, if the Section is completely deleted, police will be a toothless body to deal with miscreants, he felt.

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