Supreme Court frowns on FIRs filed under quashed section of IT law

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday took umbrage to the actual fact that first information reports (FIRs) were still being filed under Section 66A of the data Technology Act, despite the Apex Court having struck down the section because it was found to be "violative of fundamental right of expression".

Under the now-quashed Section 66A of the IT Act, those charged faced imprisonment for posting, sharing "grossly offensive" content.

The Supreme Court on Monday held that it had been a "matter of great concern" that FIRS are being filed despite "authoritative pronouncements" by the highest court.

The Apex Court then directed the central government to convey the Supreme Court's directions to the chief secretaries of all states.

The Supreme Court made the observation while hearing a plea which claimed that despite the SC quashing section 66A of the IT Act, FIRs still be filed thereunder.

This is not the primary time such an instance was dropped at the Supreme Court's notice.

In 2021, A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai said they were "amazed" that cases continued to be filed under the now unconstitutional section and and issued notices to the Centre to clarify its legal stand. At the time, The SC was hearing a petition filed by The People’s Union for Civil Liberties through advocate Sanjay Parikh, who argued that the cases registered under the supply had increased since the law was struck down.

Even in 2019, In 2019 too, the bench functioning on the same petition asked the govt. to own its judgement circulated to all or any states.