SC issues notice to govt on IT Act

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to the Centre and others on PILs filed by Independent MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar and NGO Common Cause, challenging the controversial provisions of the Information Technology Act that purportedly curtailed a citizen's fundamental rights of free speech.

A Bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir admitted the two PILs and sought responses of the Government of India and Department of Electronics and Information Technology. It ordered for tagging the petitions with another PIL pending before it, in which the ministry has already furnished its response. The previous petition was filed in the aftermath of the Maharashtra Police invoking the IT Act provisions to arrest two girls over their facebook posts.

In the fresh PILs, the petitioners have contended that the arbitrary provisions in the IT Act impinged upon a person's fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and right to life and liberty.

They claimed that the impugned provisions were "draconian and arbitrary" in nature, according unreasonable leeway to the police and other authorities of misusing them. The PILs have demanded striking down the impugned provisions.

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