Press Statement by Minister for Communications and IT Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad
I am deeply distressed over the arrest of a young school boy in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh on sharing a questionable Facebook comment, which according to him was unintentional. His arrest has made me very uncomfortable and I am assuming that bail has been granted to him.
Social media has seen phenomenon growth in India. In this digital age, communication and exchange of ideas particularly by young minds must be appreciated and complemented. Those who are in politics must learn to be tolerant even in the face of criticism.
The government led by Shri Narendra Modi, fully supports the right of millions of Indians to communicate on social media as it is protected by Article 19 (1) of the Constitution and is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19 (2). All the state governments need to follow the central advisory so that there is no abuse of section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act. Freedom of speech and expression is sacrosanct in the Constitution. Obviously in the cases of terrorism, extremism, rabid communal violence appropriate safety measures must be taken. However, no impression should go that in a democracy we are curbing the right to communicate.
The Constitutional validity of section 66A of the IT Act is under consideration by theHon’ble Supreme Court. I appeal to the law enforcement agencies all over the country to be alive to the sensitivity involved while exercising powers to arrest under section 66A of the IT Act.
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