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Arrest over FB content: 66A dropped, UP police tells SC

Azam Khan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court was today told that Uttar Pradesh Police would go ahead with the prosecution of a Bareilly boy for allegedly posting objectionable comments on Facebook against senior SP leader Azam Khan only under Indian Penal Code and not under the controversial section 66A of cyber law which was quashed by the Supreme Court.

A bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and R F Nariman took on record the submission of the state government’s counsel Gaurav Bhatia that since section 66 A has been quashed by the apex court, the accused will be prosecuted under other penal provisions.

The submission was made by the state agency in response to a March 20 notice seeking its explanation on the circumstances leading to the arrest of the boy.

Bhatia said now section 66A stands dropped against the boy and the trial would continue for others offences mentioned in the FIR.

Besides section 66A, the case was also registered under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (public mischief) of Indian Penal Code.

The notice was issued by the court on a petition alleging violation of the Supreme Court advisory which says that section 66A of Information Technology Act would not be invoked without consultation of high ranking police officers like IG or DCP.

On March 24, the apex court had struck down the controversial provision in the Information and Technology Act providing for arrest for posting allegedly offencive content on websites, while terming it “unconstitutional”.

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