799 cases pending under scrapped IT Act section


(This story originally appeared in on Jan 17, 2021)

At least 799 cases are still pending against people under the scrapped Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, according to digital advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF). The Supreme Court struck down Section 66A in 2015.

The findings were published by IFF, in collaboration with Civic Data Lab (CDL), and have been presented through a website zombietracker.in. The website has details of the total cases registered, pending cases and those disposed by the courts in 11 states of the country. The highest number of pending cases under 66A comes from Maharashtra (320), followed by Uttar Pradesh (131) and Jharkhand (118).

“We plan to widen our research and include data from other states in the website soon,” said CDL member Abhinav Sekhri. The data for the website was sourced from district courts, Sekhri added.

IT

According to the tracker, 1,988 cases were registered under Section 66A of IT Act across 11 states. Out of this, 1,189 cases were disposed, including 236 with verdicts.

Cops still book people under Section 66A


A section of the website shows that 1,307 cases were registered after the Supreme Court declared Section 66A as unconstitutional, and out of this 570 cases are still pending before several courts. Section 66A, often described as an impediment to free speech, was enacted into the statute through an amendment in 2008.

It penalised the sending of “offensive messages” online, but failed to define offensive, which led to its wide misuse. Despite the SC order declaring the section unconstitutional, the police still book people under the section.

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