FB arrests were abuse of law: SC

FB arrests were abuse of law: SC

The Supreme Court on Friday described the recent arrest of two young women for a Facebook post over the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray as “an abuse of the process of law” and also sought to know from the Maharashtra government the reasons and circumstances that led to the action against them.

A bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir asked Maharashtra to inform the court about the action that the government took against police officers for arresting the girls.

“We would like to know what kind of actions you (state) have taken or propose to take against the policemen. The process of law has been abused as far as the arrests of these children are concerned. The Maharashtra government is directed to explain the manner in which the two—Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan—were arrested for posting comments by them on Facebook,” the bench, also comprising Justice J Chelameswar, said.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Delhi student Shreya Singhal challenging the validity of Section 66 A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, which enjoined a jail term of up to three years.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, whose assistance was sought by the court in the matter, submitted that the police arrested the girls after invoking two non-bailable provisions of the Indian Penal Code as Section 66A of IT Act was a bailable one.

He said the matter required intervention of the court as some guidelines were required to be made.

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