Let us not have a repetition of Palghar Girl’s Case

Mumbai high court was instrumental in initiating the Section 66A removal from ITA 2000 in the Palghar girl’s case due to a wrong interpretation of the section.

A situation has come now where the petition of Mr Kunal Kamra is before the High Court and it is being pressed for immediate decision citing some urgency that “Free Speech in India is under threat”.

In the Palghar case, two girls who had “Liked” a FaceBook post were arrested by the Police and the issue under scrutiny in the Court was whether the “Clicking of the Like” button was equivalent to endorsing the view in the Post and also whether the Post was defamatory warranting an arrest of the two girls. The case got traction because the affected parties were Muslims and went all the way to Supreme Court which held that the arrest followed the Section 66A and had a chilling effect on freedom of expression an ordered the removal of the entire section without even making an attempt to “Read Down”.

A similar trigger happy situation is building up in the current case and a wrong decision may be made by the Court and it may issue at least an interim stay creating a wrong perception. Such a decision will put the Court under low light as ignorant of the law.

In the interest of preserving the reputation of the Court, it is necessary for us to highlight that the Intermediary Guidelines does not amount to a damage to the right to freedom of expression and the petition is based on a malicious propaganda.

I have explained the reasons in my previous articles and does not need a repetition.

However, I would like to highlight an article that has appeared today in Business Standard reproduced below.

Please note the article towards the end, lists the French and Australian Laws to a similar effect.

I urge the Government to take note of the International efforts to bring credibility to the media by weeding out Fake News and ensure that the Court does not come in the way of the efforts in this direction. If the Court allows the petition of Mr Kunal Karma it will indicate that the High Court is making a mistake similar to the Palghar Case and create a wrong precedence.

I wish lawyers in Mumbai bring this to the notice of the Court so that justice does not remain blind to the actual fact.


About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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