Amend Section 66A and relook at the Internet laws - Protect our #freedomofspeech
  • Petitioned Kapil Sibal

This petition was delivered to:

Minister for Information and Communication Technology
Kapil Sibal

Amend Section 66A and relook at the Internet laws - Protect our #freedomofspeech

    1. Gautam John
    2. Petition by

      Gautam John

      Bangalore, India

Section 66A under the IT Act needs to be amended and redefined. It is against the freedom of speech guaranteed under the Indian Constitution.

In the last few months a number of cases have come to light on how Section 66A is being arbitrarily used by the law enforcement agencies to arrest citizens for posting comments on the internet and social networking websites.

This  is the same section which took Ambikesh Mahapatra to jail for emailing a cartoon of the West Bengal Chief Minister to his friends, to arrest Shaheen Dhada for posting a comment on Facebook, to harass Renu, her friend for liking that comment or for taking Ravi to the police station for tweeting about a politician's  son.

This is not just a battle against one section but against an entire law which is being used to keep the citizens in check and deny them Internet Freedom.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 which was amended extensively without any debate in the Parliament has a number of such provisions that can result in censorship and severely impact the Freedom of Speech and Expression, which is everyone’s right and vital to the Indian democracy.

In May 2012, a motion was introduced in the Rajya Sabha to amend some parts of the IT Act (IT Intermediary Rules, 2011). However, the motion was defeated by a voice vote. During the debate, Mr Sibal said that the IT Act’s provisions must be invoked with far greater care and at a much higher level in the police force.

Under pressure from the Opposition and various civil society groups that termed the IT rules an attack on freedom of expression, IT Minister Kapil Sibal had assured the constitution of a multi- stakeholder (read different relevant parties including civil society) to amend the rules.

Following this, a roundtable was organised in Aug 2012 was attended by a handful of MPs, representatives of industry and industry associations and lawyers. No civil society organisation was invited to this meeting. Minister Sibal announced that the Government “would set up a smaller group represented by all the stakeholders, civil society, lawyers, academics, cybercafés, MPs, and then tweak these rules in such a way that they are acceptable to everybody.”

While on one hand the IT(Intermediary Rules) 2011 needs to be relooked, the arbitrary use of various provisions of the IT Act are being used to throttle public opinion using the provisions of IT Act are increasingly becoming common.

Through this petition we are asking Mr. Kapil Sibal to immediately

1) Organise the stakeholder meetings to look into the concerns of attack on freedom of expression and make necessary changes to the IT Rules

2) Review and amend Section 66(A) of the IT Act

3) Review the entire IT Act

Media Sources

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3713750.ece
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3718615.ece
http://www.asianage.com/editorial/sec-66a-it-act-blot-democracy-890
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/kapil-sibal-promises-to-rethink-on-internet-censorship/1/189265.html

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 7,000 signatures
    2. Supreme Court accepts student's petition challenging Section 66(A)

      Gautam John
      Petition Organizer
      Supreme Court accepts student's petition challenging Section 66(A)

      New Delhi: The arrest of two young women from Maharashtra for their Facebook posts has led to a national debate over Section 66(A) of the IT Act. The Supreme Court today will hear a public interest litigation (PIL) that challenges this portion of the Act, which deals with punishment for sending "offensive messages" through a computer or communication device.

    3. Reached 3,000 signatures
    4. Reached 2,500 signatures
    5. Problems are with Sec. 66A and not with its implementation

      Gautam John
      Petition Organizer
    6. Reached 2,000 signatures
    7. Cyberzens click in protest, demand review of law - The Hindu

      Raheel Khursheed
      Petition Organizer
      Cyberzens click in protest, demand review of law

      The internet, like the real world, is a much divided space. So when a controversial leader like Bal Thackeray dies, there are condolence messages and tributes, hot discussions on his legacy and criticism of what he stood for.

    8. Reached 100 signatures
    9. Internet freedom: In danger of being stifled?

      Gautam John
      Petition Organizer
      Internet freedom: In danger of being stifled?

      Watch Internet freedom: In danger of being stifled? Video on NDTV.com. The arrest of two girls in Maharashtra over their Facebook posts has put the spotlight on deeply contentious sections of the information technology law.

    10. Reached 25 signatures
    11. Draft Nonsense

      Gautam John
      Petition Organizer

      Please read this piece by Pranesh Prakash on why this law is terrible for you and for us. http://www.timescrest.com/opinion/draft-nonsense-9274

    12. A Section for the Offended

      Gautam John
      Petition Organizer

      Please read this post by Apar Gupta on why this law is a bad idea: http://www.iltb.net/2012/10/a-section-for-the-offended/

      a section for the offended | India Law and Technology Blog

      The recent arrest of a industrialist for an alleged defamatory statement made against Karthi Chidambram demonstrates the ease with which arrests can be made following police complaints for online speech. I stress that the result is quite different when such speech is made in print or even on television due to specific provisions which exist under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and apply only to online speech.

    13. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    @prempanicker

    Dec 04, 2012

    Just 5000 signatories? If you can't put your hand up, you don't get to crib when your freedoms are snatched from you. http://t.co/8gdyN308

    prempanicker
    63.8k followers

    @SachinKalbag

    Nov 29, 2012

    RT @gkjohn: "#FreedomofSpeech is an integral part of the concept of a free nation" Sign the petition! http://t.co/iHK5ZTr7

    Sachin Kalbag
    18.4k followers

    @nilanjanaroy

    Nov 29, 2012

    Replug: Two days before @gkjohn's petition reaches Kapil Sibal. If you care about your free speech online, please sign? http://t.co/vI1XLHXR

    Nilanjana Roy
    79.9k followers

    Reasons for signing

    • Vickram Mederata DELHI, INDIA
      • 9 months ago

      This nation after freedom needs champions of Human Rights, and it ends up getting Pseudo Control Freaks that have forgotten India's freedom and Citizens rights.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Yamini Khanna BANGALORE, INDIA
      • 9 months ago

      Can be abused for personal gains / vengeance ... Also against our very core fundamental right of freedom of speech

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Krishna Dayanidhi HYDERABAD, INDIA
      • 10 months ago

      IT Rights for all humans in today's world. Will support any movements for this cause

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Abhay Venkatesh AHMEDABAD, INDIA
      • 12 months ago

      Because individual rights are important, as quoted by Mr. Rishabh Nigam here.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Saurav Sarkar ALLAHABAD, INDIA
      • 12 months ago

      Freedom is something is is hard to gain. And it is very hard to trade it for any luxury.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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