The IT act came into existence to protect the users from the crime related to electronic space, we know that India is a IT hub and a largest democratic country, That’s why we need IT laws .But Laws don’t keep pace with technology.
And at one point of time the technology surpasses and comes above the law, when this happens then the need to amend the law arises. This is what happened with the 66A IT act.
Let us first look at it what is 66A:
*[66A. Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc..-
Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,-
(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,
(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.
Explanation: For the purposes of this section, terms “Electronic mail” and “Electronic Mail Message” means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, image, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.
The analysis of the current IT act gives an Idea that the 66A IT act is vague it talks about the information but how it gets transmitted to other person this is not mentioned as in the year 2000 there was only one way to transmit information i.e. through E-mails or may through few websites but the concept of blogging or “free speech” was not there at that time. Because information through speech is different than other form of information. For example-: we have Article 14 for freedom of speech but for intimidating someone with information passed through messages does not come under freedom of speech.
The 66A IT act certainly needs to be amended as IT act was passed in year 2000 at that time there was no concept of social media, the 66A act was intended to cover only email messages ,the messages of email cannot be compared with that of post on social media. The email messages are personal in nature and is generally intended to single person, But in social media you have an audience and the case of posting on the wall certainly comes under freedom of speech, so the posting on the facebook wall must be equated with article 14, and same limitation must be applied to it rather than treating it as a message. So with current technological advancement there certainly need to amend the IT laws.
By: Nitish Banka