Centre panel on Section 66A pitches for changes in law to counter hate speech online

By: | Updated: October 6, 2017 7:53 AM

An expert committee, constituted by the Centre, has recommended that the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the IT Act be amended in order to introduce stringent provisions for the same.

Section 66A, changes in Section 66A, hate speech online, Centre panel on Section 66A, Supreme Court on Section 66A, IT Act, Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, amendments in Section 66A, IPC section 505A, District Cyber Crime CellThe expert committee was constituted after the Supreme Court struck down the controversial Section 66A of the Information Technology Act in 2015. (Image: Reuters)

In order to deal with cases of hate speech online, use of cyberspace to spread hatred and incitement, an expert committee, constituted by the Centre, has recommended that the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the IT Act be amended in order to introduce stringent provisions for the same. The expert committee was constituted after the Supreme Court struck down the controversial Section 66A of the Information Technology Act in 2015. A report regarding the same was submitted by the committee last week to the Union Home Ministry last week. Speaking to Indian Express, Dr S Sivakumar, who is also a member of the committee, said, “We decided there was no need to re-introduce Section 66A, but we need to strengthen the Indian Penal Code instead.”

One of the major recommendations proposed in the committee is prohibiting incitement to hatred. In this case the committee has recommended to include in communication – spoken or written words, signs, visible representation, information, audio, video, or combination of both, transmitted, retransmitted through any telecommunication service, communication device or computer resource, said the Indian Express report. The punishment for the same can be up to two years of imprisonment or fine of Rs 5,000 or both.

Second recommendation was put by amending IPC section 505A where punishment of any person or a group of person who intentionally uses any means of communication to communicate. Punishment for the same can be up to an year of imprisonment or fine of Rs 5000 or both.

Third in the list was to amend Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The committee recommended to add section 25 B and 25 C creating the post of a State Cyber Crime Coordinator and District Cyber Crime Cell, reported Indian Express.

Last but not the least, the committee also recommended amendment to IT Act, 2000.

Section 66A which was brought into the statue by the UPA- II regime in 2009 gave power to the police to arrest those who acts offensive or menacing or even for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience etc.

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