Explain arrest for Facebook post, top court tells state
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SC also wants to know action taken against cops involved
Calling the arrest of two Palghar (Thane district) girls for a Facebook post an "abuse" of the process of law, Supreme Court (SC) directed the Maharashtra government Friday to explain the manner of the arrest.
A bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued a notice to Maharashtra to explain the questionable arrest under a contentious Information Technology (IT) Act provision, which permits jail up to three years for "annoying" and "offensive" messages sent electronically.
"We would like to know what action you (state) have taken or propose to take against the policemen. The process of law has been abused as far as arrest of these children is concerned...The Maharashtra government is directed to explain the manner in which the two girls — Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan — were arrested for posting comments on Facebook."
Earlier, as sought by the bench a day before it agreed to hear a PIL by a Delhi law student, attorney general G E Vahanvati appeared and concurred with SC that the provision under IT Act was abused.
Referring to the arrest of the two girls for questioning a Mumbai shutdown after the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, he said section 66A of IT Act was not applicable in the case and police added two serious IPC sections to make the arrest.
"I am in agreement with the concern of the court and would request the bench to examine the matter. Some guidelines and directions will be required in such matters. Please examine section 66A of IT Act, 2000, and I will assist the court," submitted AG.
Vahanvati said there was nothing wrong with the objectives of section 66A but seeking approval of senior police officers should be made mandatory before making arrests under it.