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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

Dear readers,

Certain uncalled-for arrests made by the police under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 in the recent times brought the provision into an unflattering, tight focus, and made the civil society take note of the damage that a loosely and rather carelessly worded provision can do. It is settled law by now that Freedom of Speech and Expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution can be interfered with only by imposing 'reasonable restrictions' by law on the grounds specified under Article 19(2).

Certainly, the possibility of misuse alone is no reason to attack a legal provision because all law can be potentially misused one way or the other. However, if a legal provision happens to be laid out such as to allow a very wide range of interpretations, a good number of which might be constitutionally questionable in application, the provision can be easily set aside for failing to stand the test of Article 14 of the Constitution even if it somehow manages to clear the 'reasonable restrictions' test of Article 19(2). Of course, the final word lies with the constitutional courts.

(Manish Arora)

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