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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
(DEPARTMENT OF ELECTRONICS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY)
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 1290
ANSWERED ON MARCH 08, 2013
Amendment of I.T. Act
1290. SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR:
Will the Minister of COMMUNICATIONS & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY be pleased to state:
(a) whether in view of several recent cases/incidents that have highlighted the draconian nature of Section 66A of the IT Act, 2008, Government would consider amending the Act accordingly so as to eliminate actions that hamper free speech; and
(b) if not, the reasons therefor?
MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
(SHRI MILIND DEORA)
(a): The provisions of the section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 protect the democratic processes and freedom of speech and expression as well as citizen's rights as enshrined in the Constitution of India. The provisions are also based on the international best practices and similar provisions in the legislation of other countries. Government is not considering to amend section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Further, a writ petition (no. 167 of 2012) on section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 is pending in Hon'ble Supreme Court.
(b): The new medium of Internet and social media are expanding and the balance required between rights and obligations of different stakeholders is going to resolve over a period of time. In such a technology advancement arena, there could be a need for consultation on the emerging issues, time and again, to refine understanding on such issues. Government has already held discussions with stakeholders including the Industry Associations, intermediaries and users to address the issue of proper implementation of the provisions of the Act. The wisdom of Hon'ble Supreme Court will also be available in due course. It will help in fully understanding the ambit and implication of cyberspace. In the meantime, Government has issued an Advisory to all the State Governments and Union Territories to ensure citizen's right to freedom of speech and expression and proper implementation of provisions of section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.