Arrest over FB comment: SC to hear plea on Friday

New Delhi, March 19: The Supreme Court will on Friday hear an application seeking explation from Uttar Pradesh government for arresting a school-going boy for sharing on a social networking site a post critical of senior Minister Azam Khan. Vicky Khan, 19, hails from Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh. As counsel Mali Singhal mentioned the application before the apex court bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Kurian Joseph soon after the court assembled after lunch, Justice Chelameswar permitted the filing of the application saying it would be taken up on Friday. Soon after Mali Singhal mentioned the application, counsel for Uttar Pradesh government said Vicky Khan, who was remanded to 14-day judicial custody, has been let off on bail. Vicky Khan was booked under various sections of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Indian Pel Code.

As the court was told that boy has been granted bail, Justice Chelameswar who along with Justice Rohinton Fali riman had heard and reserved verdict on a batch of petitions challenging Section 66A of I.T. Act, 2000, said they may pronounce judgment either on March 23 or March 24. “If we uphold the challenge to Section 66A of I.T.Act, 2000 then you can seek relief accordingly or if the challenge to Section 66A is not accepted then you can take recourse to remedies under crimil law,” Justice Chelameswar told Mali Singhal. Mali Singhal told the court that in the course of the hearing of petition by Shreya Singhal challenging Section 66A of I.T. Act, 2000 as unconstitutiol, Additiol Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre had contended that the provision of the I.T. Act would not be invoked against those making political criticism. Urging the court to hear the application moved by her seeking relief for Vicky Khan, Mali Singhal told the court to let Uttar Pradesh government explain the circumstance under which Vicky Khan was arrested invoking Section 66A.

Shreya Singhal had moved the Supreme Court November 2012 seeking the striking down of Section 66A which was resorted to by the authorities to arrest two young girls — Shaheen Dhanda, 21, who had questioned the Mumbai shutdown after the death of Shiv Se leader Bal Thackeray Nov 17 and her friend Renu Srinivasan who had ‘liked’ the comment on Facebook. (ians)

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