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Why arrest boy for Facebook comment, SC asks UP

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 March 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, March 20: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Uttar Pradesh government why a class 11 was arrested for allegedly posting objectioble comments against state minister Azam Khan on Facebook. A bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Rohinton Fali riman sought the response to the plea challenging the boy’s arrest. Senior counsel Soli Sorabjee raised the matter, questioning the state government’s action invoking section 66A of Information Technology Act to book a schoolboy for allegedly making objectioble comments against Azam Khan, a senior leader of the state’s ruling Samajwadi Party.

The boy was granted bail on Thursday. Every law could be abused, the court observed as Sorabjee told the court that their apprehension of section 66A being misued has been vindicated. As Uttar Pradesh government counsel told the court that Vicky Khan’s post on social networking site was “derogatory and inflammatory”, Justice riman said that he has seen it. Counsel told the court that Vicky Khan was booked under section 66A as well the Indian pel Code’s section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race etc), section 504 (intentiol insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and section 505 (public mischief). The state government, while asserting that Vicky Khan’s age was 23 and not 19 as being mentioned in the application by advocate Mali Singhal, also questioned her locus standi to raise the issue. The court was told that appropriate remedies were available to the accused Vicky Khan to redress his grievance. The court gave the state government four weeks to file its response.

Section 66A of the IT Act which is the bone of contention reads: “Any person who sends by any means of a computer resourceaany information that is grossly offensive or has a mecing character; or any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.” Singhal had moved an application seeking relief for Vicky Khan in a case by Shreya Singhal on which the apex court had reserved its verdict on December 17. (ians)

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