NDA stand different from UPA's: Prasad

NDA stand different from UPA's: Prasad

Welcoming the Supreme Court’s judgement striking down section 66 (A) of the  IT Act, Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said though the NDA government had defended the constitutional validity of Section 66(A) of IT Act before the apex court, the present dispensation took a stand that was different from that of the previous UPA government.

Prasad told reporters here that “if the security establishment feels that there is need to consider certain aspects in the light of the order, these shall be considered in a proper structured way with due safeguards so that the constitutional rights are not frustrated”.

“There can be no parallel of our stand on this matter with that of the previous UPA regime. We have in writing confirmed that we stand for freedom of speech and expression, while the previous UPA government tried to make this law an instrument to curb dissent, satire and anything else which did not suit it,” he said.

When the UPA government came out with “draconian” provisions under 66(A), the BJP opposed it saying it can not be acceptable, he said.

Prasad said after detailed discussions, the government had filed an affidavit before the SC making its stand clear that it respects the freedom of speech and expression.
The government said it had conveyed a request to the court that government is willing to come out with additional, more stringent guidelines so as to prevent abuse of Section 66A of the Act which allows arrest of a person for posting allegedly “offensive” content on websites.

Asked how the government would ensure regulation in the light of the SC judgement, Prasad said: “If something is really offensive of national security needs surely there is a process and law.” The court has laid down guidelines under Section 79, he added.

“I am a supporter of self-regulation by both–those who post and those who allow that platform to be posted,” the minister said.

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