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Responsibility of the states, do not file a case under the repealed section 66A of the IT Act, the answer of the Center in the Supreme Court

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The Center has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that it is the duty of the states and union territories to stop registering cases under the repealed Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. The Supreme Court had repealed this section in the year 2015 itself, but till now cases are being registered under it, about which the Supreme Court had expressed surprise last month and sought an answer from the central government.

In the affidavit, the central government has said that 21 states and union territories have informed the IT ministry in their letter to comply with the 2015 order, but it is the responsibility of the law enforcement agencies under the state governments to ensure that the IT Do not file any new case under section 66A of the Act.

The Center has also said in the affidavit that according to the Constitution of India, the police and public order are the affairs of the states and the investigation, punishment of any case falls primarily with the states. Law enforcement agencies of every state take legal action against cybercriminals. Therefore it is also their responsibility to follow the orders of the Supreme Court.

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On July 5 last month, a bench of Justices R F Nariman, K M Joseph and B R Gavai issued notice to the Center on an application filed by NGO People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).

The bench told senior advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for PUCL, “Don’t you think it is surprising and shocking? The Shreya Singhal verdict is of 2015. This is really shocking. What is happening is terrible.’

In the application filed by the NGO, it was found that 229 cases are still pending in 11 states under the section of the IT Act, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015. Under that section of the law, there was a provision of imprisonment of up to three years and fine for posting derogatory messages.

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