A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here challenging Constitutional validity of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act under which a Puducherry businessman -cum-India Against Corruption volunteer Ravi Srinivasan was booked last week for having tweeted against Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti.
A. Marx, a human rights activist, had filed the petition on the ground that the section posed a grave threat to freedom of online communication. He also sought for an interim direction restraining the government officials from invoking the provision besides suspending its operation until the disposal of the main case which was to strike down the Section altogether as ultra vires of the Constitution.
The Section states that any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or communication device, any information that was grossly offensive or has menacing character could be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of three years besides imposing appropriate fine. In the case of Mr. Srinivasan, he had tweeted that “karthick chidambaram had amassed more wealth than vadra.” The Puducherry police had arrested the businessman after booking a case under Section 66A on the basis of an e-mail complaint lodged by Mr. Karti Chidambaram.