Police wake up to SC order on IT Act only after arrested man complains

Jaswinder Singh Obhan, a businessman, is a bitter man today. He spent 21 days in the Central prison at Parappana Agrahara after being arrested in April this year before being released on bail.

He was arrested by Ulsoor police under Section 66A of Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, acting on a complaint that he spread canards about the complainant on online forums.

He may have been saved the ordeal if the police had implemented a May 2013 Supreme Court order that mandates prior approval of a senior officer before any arrest under Section 66A of the IT Act.

Mr. Obhan has written to Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee demanding an inquiry into his arrest, which he claims was in violation of the Supreme Court order. He has also demanded suspension of all officers responsible for his arrest.

“The State police woke up to the Supreme Court order only after I sought papers regarding my arrest. Who is responsible for the ordeal that my family and I went through? This is contempt of court,” he stated.

He has lodged a complaint with National Human Rights Commission.

On October 9, 2014, Director General and Inspector General of Police Lalrukhoma Pachau issued a circular directing implementation of the order. He attributed the delay to the time taken to communicate the order to the State government and in turn to the police. He promised to look into Mr. Obhan’s case.

What does Section 66A of IT Act, 2000, say?

Any person who sends offensive messages, by means of a computer resource or a communication device, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

What does the Supreme Court Order dated May 16, 2013, say?

“Police shall not arrest any person under the section without prior permission from an officer no less than the rank of Inspector General of Police in metropolitan cities or an officer of the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police or Superintendent of Police in districts.”

The order was issued in the wake of misuse of Section 66A.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 5:53:56 AM |

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