The Supreme Court
has just struck down Section 66A
of the Information Technology Act, which prohibited the sending of information of a “menacing” or “grossly offensive” nature
through computers or other communication devices. And all we have to say is “YAY!!!”
, given that the law made it possible for people to get arrested for even so much as liking a Facebook status!
As we celebrate this victory for freedom of speech, we bring you the 7 most bizarre ways in which the law was used in our country to put people behind bars. Read on, and you will know exactly why we are so excited!
1. For Sharing a Cartoon
Ambikesh Mahapatra, a college professor, and Subrata Sengupta, his neighbour, were arrested for allegedly sharing a cartoon
that poked fun at the West Bengal Chief Minister.
2. For Cracking Jokes
Mayank Mohan Sharma and K.V.J. Rao, who both worked for Air India, were arrested by the Mumbai police and spent 12 days in jail for allegedly posting jokes
that were derogatory towards the Prime Minister and the flag of our country. Both of them claimed that they had only shared information that was widely available on the Internet.
3. For Being Curious
Perhaps the case that really got the nation’s attention was this one: Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan, both from Palghar, were arrested when one of them posted a status
on her Facebook page wondering why the entire city was shut down for Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray's funeral.
4. For Not Doing Anything At All
Three students from Kishtwar in Jammu & Kashmir were arrested and sent to jail simply because they had been tagged
in an allegedly blasphemous video posted on Facebook, and one of them had commented on it. They spent 40 days in prison, although the police had no evidence that they had posted the video in the first place.
5. For Drawing Cartoons
In another important case, cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was sent to prison for displaying cartoons
on his webpage that made light of the corruption and scams that were plaguing the government and the Parliament.
6. For Tweeting
A businessman from Puducherry, Ravi Srinivasan, was arrested for allegedly tweeting
“offensive” messages about South Indian politician, Karthi Chidambaram. What’s interesting to note is that his follower count had been around 300 at the time he tweeted; and it zoomed into the thousands once the arrest made news! He is presently with the Aam Aadmi Party.
7. For Expressing an Opinion
A ship-building professional from Goa, Devu Chodankar, was booked for posting a comment on Facebook
that was allegedly anti-Modi.
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