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[S. 66A IT Act] Police Can't Lodge FIR, Courts Can't Take Cognizance Of Chargesheet: Allahabad HC Directs DGP, UP Courts

Sparsh Upadhyay
14 Dec 2021 8:10 AM GMT
[S. 66A IT Act] Police Cant Lodge FIR, Courts Cant Take Cognizance Of Chargesheet: Allahabad HC Directs DGP, UP Courts
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The Allahabad High Court on Monday issued a direction to all the District Courts in Uttar Pradesh and to the Director-General of Police, U.P that no FIR be lodged under Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 and no court to take cognizance on the charge sheet filed under the said section.The order came from the Bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan as it noted that Section 66A of the IT Act, 2008...

The Allahabad High Court on Monday issued a direction to all the District Courts in Uttar Pradesh and to the Director-General of Police, U.P that no FIR be lodged under Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 and no court to take cognizance on the charge sheet filed under the said section.

The order came from the Bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan as it noted that Section 66A of the IT Act, 2008 has already been struck down by the Apex court in the case of Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India, reported in (2015) 5 SCC 1.

Essentially, the Court was hearing the plea of one Harsh Kadam assailing the Charge Sheet of UP Police and the summoning order issued by Special Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lucknow in Criminal registered agaisn him u/s 66A of the IT Act, 2008.

It was contended by the counsel for the petitioner that the impugned FIR is misconceived inasmuch as the petitioner has not committed any office as alleged in the FIR, therefore, the charge sheet which has been filed under Section 66A of the IT Act is patently unwarranted and uncalled for.

Appearing for the state, the AGA submitted that vires of Section 66A of the IT Act has been assailed before the Apex Court in re; Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India, reported in (2015) 5 SCC 1, whereby the Apex Court struck down the said Section treating the same being violative of Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India.

In view of this, the Court, at the outset observed thus:

"...when the FIR could have not been lodged under Section 66A of the IT Act, 2008 for the reason that the aforesaid provision of law has been struck down by the Apex Court on 24.3.2015, as to how the charge sheet has been filed and the summoning order has been issued."

Therefore, calling the case as a clear-cut example of nonapplication of mind by the Investigating Officer who had filed charge-sheet under Section 66A of the IT Act, 2008 and by the court below who had taken cognizance of that charge-sheet without verifying that legal aspect which was incumbent upon him, the Court quashed the charge sheet and the summoning order.

"This order shall be circulated to all the District Courts vis-avis shall be provided to the Director General of Police, U.P. so that no FIR be lodged under Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 and in case any FIR has already been lodged after 24.3.2015 when the decision of the Apex Court in re; Shreya Singhal (supra) has come, no court to take cognizance on the charge sheet which has been filed under Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000," the Court further ordered. 

Case title - Harsh Kadam @ Hitendra Kumar v. State Of U.P. Thru Prin. Secy. Home And Anr.

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