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Govt looking to modify IPC sections instead of bringng back Section 66A: report

The Indian government is looking at amending IPC sections 153A and 505 to include provisions specified under Section 66A, that were struck down by the Supreme Court in March 2015, reports DNA. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued recommendations to the Centre last week specifying that instead of modifying the current IT Act, the govt can look at "strengthening" IPC sections 153A and 505, the report said.  Section 66A of the IT Act was initially formulated in the year 2000 to criminalize offensive and hate speech content on the Internet. These recommendations were issued by the MHA after an ‘expert’ committee, headed by TK Vishwanathan, Secretary General of Lok Sabha, met last week. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY), also supported these suggestion made by MHA. While the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry suggested a real-time system for handling cyber-crime cases along with a legal backing under the IT Act. This isn’t the first time that the MHA was looking for an alternative to bring back 66A. Just 3 weeks after the Supreme Court scrapped in 2015, for being unconstitutional, the MHA set up a committee to look into “how national security concerns can be accommodated in the IT Act”. Instead of addressing national security concerns, Sec 66A was earlier being used to criminalize and charge citizens for questioning or passing jokes against the government, religious figures, etc. on social media. In 2015 alone, more than 3,000 cases were registered under 66A. Also Read: Centre working on social media policy to monitor…

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