NEW DELHI, March 24 � In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court today struck down a controversial provision in the cyber law providing for arrest for posting allegedly �offensive� content on websites saying, it is �unconstitutional� and has a �chilling effect� on freedom of speech and expression, reports PTI.
The apex court also held that the expressions used in Section 66(A) of the Information and Technology Act, which had been used by various administrations against inconvenient posts in the cyber space, are �completely open-ended and undefined�.
However, the bench turned down the plea to strike down Section 69(A) and Section 79 of the Act which deal with the procedure and safeguards for blocking sites and exemption from liability of intermediaries in certain cases respectively.
It is clear that the impugned provision of Sec 66(A) �arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately� invades the right of free speech and upsets balance between such right and reasonable restrictions that may be imposed, the court held.
The provision, which had come under the scanner of the court after two Mumbai girls were arrested for posting and liking a comment on Facebook relating to shutdown in the city following Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray�s death, was also invoked recently against a youth in Uttar Pradesh for his post on state minister Azam Khan.