Legal experts in India are analysing the Supreme Court’s judgment titled Shreya Singhal v. Union of India (24th March 2015), Writ Petition (Criminal) No.167 Of 2012 (PDF). Till now there are mixed reactions to the judgment by Supreme Court. Despite the common perceptions, the judgment is not just about Section 66A but many other sections and rules as well. For instance, Section 79 of IT Act 2000 and Rule 3 of Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 have also been analysed by Supreme Court.
As the constitutionality of these provisions was challenged, Supreme Court had limited choices. Supreme Court preferred to narrow down these provisions to keep them operational and constitutional. But it has not been realised at what cost this has been done. Has the Supreme Court erred in reading down Section 79(3) (b) and Rule 3(4) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000)?
According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of ICT law firm Perry4Law, Supreme Court’s Judgment on Section 66A is a big blow for Cyber Law Due Diligence in India and reading down of Section 79(3) (b) and Rule 3(4) by Supreme Court in the present manner is “Counter Productive” in long run. He has also suggested that Modi Government must urgently bring suitable Amendments in the IT Act 2000 to tackle growing Cyber Threats and Cyber Crimes in India.
So what would be the reaction of Modi government when reading down of Section 79(3)(b) and Rule 3(4) is more problem than solution? India is looking at Modi government and it cannot defer cyber law related issues anymore.
Indian cyber law has not been appropriate since its inception. Too much stress is given to suppress civil liberties and enhance e-surveillance. However, it has now reached a stage where immediate steps must be taken to protect civil liberties in cyberspace on the one hand and projects like Digital India on the other. This is also the high time to leave politics and do positive things for Indian masses.