Terming the Supreme Court’s decision to quash Section 66A of the Information and Technology Act “landmark and historic”, Jadavpur University Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra said here on Tuesday that the Supreme Court had rightly upheld the right to freedom of expression. He, however, expressed scepticism at the West Bengal government’s lack of response at the decision.
Prof. Mahapatra and his neighbour, Subrata Sengupta, were victims of the Section and arrested for circulating through e-mail a cartoon on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in 2012.
“Section 66A was being used by governments to clamp down on free speech and was restricting citizens from freely expressing themselves. The Supreme Court’s decision comes as a huge relief to people like me who were wrongly arrested,” Prof. Mahapatra told The Hindu .
Earlier this month, acting on the directions of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, the Calcutta High Court directed the Trinamool Congress government to pay an additional compensation of Rs. 50,000 to Prof. Mahapatra and Mr. Sengupta for their arrests.
Earlier, the Human Rights Commission had also directed the State government to pay Rs. 50,000 to the professor and his neighbour.