Kerala Police have joined the bandwagon of Section 66A abusers by booking 111 persons for comments on Facebook. This is in respect of a Facebook comment made by one person and shared by other 110 persons regarding Mr P.J.Kurien who has been accused in a rape case at Suryanelli.
It is stated that the comment was shared by over 2000 and the logic of booking case against the chosen 111 is not known.
The complaint was made by the Kerala Mahila Congress Chief, Mrs Bindu Krishna. The complainant who is herself a women has stated that the comments made were obscene which “no woman could tolerate”. It is interesting to note that Bindu Krishna considers that perhaps the rape itself was something that could be tolerated and not the comments against the Congress leader!
The evidence against the Facebook users is that they have “Shared” the comment which is obscene. On the other hand the evidence against Mr Kurien is the statement of the victim herself. Police need to consider whether this evidence is strong enough to consider booking the case against Mr Kurien and proceding against him rather than proceeding against Facebook users.
Kerala Police are considered well informed when it comes to Cyber Laws but it appears that even they act more under political influence rather than logic or public interest. It is however good that Police have not jumped to arresting the Facebook users and have stopped only at booking cases.
In our opinion Sec 66A of ITA 2008 is not meant to be applied to Facebook postings and more such misapplications will only strengthen the demand for its removal from the statute.