Centre for Internet & Society

Does the high-handed arrest of two young girls mean it's time to review and revise the IT Act?

Aryaman Sundaram, Pavan Duggal, Pranesh Prakash and Ravi Visvesvaraya Prasad took part in a discussion with Karan Thapar on section 66A of the IT Act. This was aired on CNN-IBN on November 20, 2012.

Pranesh Prakash said that it was just not a history of misuse of section 66A of the IT Act because that presumes that the law is otherwise fine and it has just been applied wrongly. This law is fundamentally flawed. It is unconstitutional. It is like a law in which there is a provision on rape, murder, theft, nuisance, everything put together in a single section with the same punishment being given for all of them. This obviously is not good law making but that is exactly what has been done in this case by taking bits from laws in the UK and from elsewhere and mashing them all up into one omnibust gargantuan monster which is unconstitutional.

Pranesh Prakash also added that the fact is that if you have bad laws they will be used to harass people. Having good law is one part of that. Apart from that there has been also other laws which have been misapplied in this case. In all these recent cases, section 66A of the IT Act wasn't the only provision used. This particular section has been used in conjunction with some other laws. So section 66A of the IT Act independently is not required. There are other laws in the Indian Penal Code and elsewhere which are usually enough to cover all the things that section 66A of the IT Act is right now covering. It is just an add on provision that really can't justify its existence unless it is really reduced in scope.

Watch the full video that was aired on CNN-IBN