The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared Section 66A of the Information Technology Act as “unconstitutional” and struck it down. The court said such a rule hits at the root of liberty and freedom of expression — the two cardinal pillars of democracy. Youths, who use social networking sites to connect and vent their feelings, welcomed the top court’s important judgment but at the same time, they are of the opinion that there should be some mechanism so that people do not misuse it (social media). Incidentally, the court has held that even the government can issue notices only within the parameters of the right of freedom of speech and expression as given in Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
Shambhavi Singh speaks to some youths to know their stand on the judgment
Anish Bari, 29
Freedom of speech is one of the important fundamental rights, which gives us the ability to take a stand on certain issues. But the effectiveness of the rights depends on the way people use it. The country is in a transitional phase leading towards a developed nation. The landmark judgment by the Supreme Court has given us a chance to open up. The augmentation of social media is emergence of freedom of speech. The people should be open to criticism and move towards the improvement. Hope this judgment will give a breathing and open space to express. But there should be some counter-mechanism to stop the misuse of the social media.
Abhinav Singh, 28
Freedom of speech is a fundamental right of every citizen of the country. When we read instances where people are arrested because they write something against the bandh of a city due to passing away of a politician, it is truly a horror. I’m very glad that the court has finally removed Section 66A of the IT Act. People should be free to express what they want and on whatever platform they want with no fear of being put in jail.
Manjari Singh, 19
You dare to write truth, upload cartoons, memes — you will be jailed or lynched. Where was the freedom? From getting detained to lynch — the freedom was ceased. I am really glad that now I can write those “objectionable” truth on social networking sites. Citizens should have freedom to express their feeling towards some objectionable incidents. Why every time in our country we need someone to file a PIL, sit on a strike, protest or suicide to take these glorious vindications? Now when it has come, hope people will not misuse it and try to respect the freedom of speech and expression they have got.
Ruchi Singh, 19
I am glad that the section has been struck down and finally we, youngsters, have one medium through which we can show our anger, disgust, hatred, love, humour or any such emotion without the fear of our action being watched and reported time and again. At least, we now have the liberty to watch we want to like the AIB Roast or India’s Daughter and also have the freedom to comment after watching any such “over-hyped” content. Though there are still some restrictions like any such website can be blocked by the government which is hampering a nation’s social relations or promoting communal violence, I respect it completely for there shouldn’t be any room for misuse of freedom.