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Summary of the Judgment in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India [Read the Judgment]

The Supreme Court of India in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India examine the validity of various provisions in Information Technology Act, 2000. Here is the summary of the Judgment:

  1. Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 is struck  down  in  its entirety being violative of Article 19(1)(a) and  not  saved  under  Article 19(2).
  2. Section 69A and the  Information  Technology  (Procedure & Safeguards for Blocking  for  Access of Information by   Public) Rules 2009 are constitutionally valid.
  3. Section 79 is valid subject to Section 79(3)(b)  being  read  down  to  mean that an intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge from a court  order  or on being notified by the appropriate government or its agency that  unlawful acts relatable to Article 19(2) are going to  be  committed  then  fails  to expeditiously remove or disable access to  such material.   Similarly,  the Information Technology  “Intermediary  Guidelines”  Rules,  2011  are  valid subject to Rule 3 sub-rule (4)  being  read  down  in  the  same  manner  as indicated in the judgment. (Section 79(3)(b) has to be read down to  mean  that  the  intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge that a court order has  been  passed  asking it to expeditiously remove or disable access to certain material must  then fail to expeditiously remove or disable access to that  material. This is for the reason that otherwise it would be very difficult for  intermediaries like Google, Facebook etc. to act when millions of  requests  are  made  and the intermediary is  then  to  judge  as  to  which  of  such  requests  are legitimate and  which  are  not.   We  have  been  informed  that  in  other countries worldwide this view has gained acceptance, Argentina being in  the forefront. Also, the Court order and/or the notification by the  appropriate Government or its agency must strictly conform to the subject  matters  laid down in Article 19(2).  Unlawful acts beyond what is laid  down  in  Article 19(2) obviously cannot  form  any  part  of  Section  79.   With  these  two caveats, we refrain from striking down Section 79(3)(b).)
  4. Section 118(d) of the Kerala Police Act is struck down  being  violative  of Article 19(1)(a) and not saved by Article 19(2).

Read the Judgment here

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  • […] of the provision was not under challenge. However, the judge noted that the Supreme Court inShreya Singhal case had held that vague laws offend several important […]

  • Jk says:

    Dear Mr.Critic,

    One thing we can learn from the last 60 years is that the Police cannot be trusted in this country. They are most often the executive’s boot licking slaves by design or by default. They will arrest anyone if the directive comes from someone high enough.

    The careful reading of a law will come much much later by some Court.
    By that time the innocent would have suffered enough. Therefore Police discretion should be curtailed as much as possible.
    Just look at the people already arrested under this provision.

    This provision is indefensible in a free nation. Unless a a provision like this is struck down, innocents will suffer more than real criminals.

    This is one of the finest judgments to come from our SC. I expect more from Justice Nariman…what a worthy appointment to the SC…. hail Justice Lodha…

  • Mr. Critic says:

    I will disapprove the Shreya Singhal judgment for more than one reason. The S. 66 A warranted harmonious interpretation with Ar. 19(6) rather than striking down… The Apex Court could have well define the extent and import of the vague words… Pre-arrest enquiry would limit the discretion of police (arnesh kumar 498 A judgment could have been used a guiding key – though i recall that already there is executive direction existing to this effect, Apex Court could have focussed on strict implementation of it)…. Problem of internet content is menacing and serious… Irresponsible people can’t be given a free hand… Genuine victims would suffer while the perpetrators will get encouraged…