Sec66A and the victims

Coloured-Social-Media-Icons-Round (1)

The opposition to the Section 66A gathered momentum with every case that was slapped on people for criticising or making fun of politicians, with the recent being one against a teenaged boy for posting comments against UP Minister Azam Khan.

There were at least ten such cases that grabbed national headlines and evoked outrage in the past three years.

The arrests of Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan in Maharashtra’s Palghar for a Facebook post questioning the shutdown in Mumbai following Bal Thackeray’s death became the trigger for the case in Supreme Court. The charges against the girls were dropped in December 2012.

Another case that brought to fore the opposition against the provision was the arrest of Jadavpur University Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra in West Bengal in 2012 for posting a caricature of Chief Mamata Banerjee on Facebook.

Then came the case of activist-cartoonist Aseem Trivedi’s case for his drawings of Parliament and the Constitution to depict their ineffectiveness. He was arrested on charges of sedition but was acquitted by Bombay High Court recently. Another instance also came in 2012 when Mayank Sharma and K V Rao from Mumbai were arrested for posting “offensive” comments against politicians.

The case filed by Karti Chidambaram, son of Congress leader P Chidambaram, against businessman Ravi Srinivasan for tweeting that he was corrupt also made it to the headlines.

The latest among them was the arrest of a Class XI student for making a Facebook post about Khan. The family of the boy apologised and Khan agreed to withdraw the case.

This was not the first time that Khan was involved in such a case. A government officer was arrested for uploading “objectionable” pictures of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Khan on Facebook earlier.

In August 2013, poet Kanwal Bharti was arrested for a post that criticised UP government for suspending IAS officer Durga Nagpal for ordering the demolition of a wall of a mosque. He said a similar incident happened in Rampur but no action was taken against officials because Khan controlled the town.

A young professional Devu Chodankar was charged last year for a post on Modi, saying if elected to power, he would unleash a ‘holocaust’. He deleted his post and later apologised for his choice of words but stood by his argument. Police also arrested a CPI(M) worker Rajesh Kumar for posting “abusive” comments on Modi.

Victory for common man, democratic and human rights of people has been protected – Ambikesh Mahapatra(Professor, Jadavpur University)

Huge victory for social media, this law was only being misused –Aseem Trivedi (Cartoonist)

I am feeling very happy, we have got justice after 2 years. My post did not have any abusive content, people must feel free to express their opinion – Rinu Srinivasan (who was arrested on post on Bal Thackeray)

I am very happy and grateful to Supreme Court – Student (who was arrested for making comment on Azam Khan)

 (An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Mar 25, 2015)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. eChunav (@eChunav)
    Mar 25, 2015 @ 14:46:20

    very informative article, listing all the cases involved with the #Section66A, Listing all such incidences from the time social media began to be the voice of people.
    Do you believe Shreya Singhal has boosted chances for welfare of women empowerment?



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