FIR registered under Section 66A of IT Act quashed as provision was declared ultra vires the Constitution of India in Shreya Singhal case
Nand Lal Singh Yadav Vs State of UP and Ors
CRIMINAL MISC. WRIT PETITION No. - 6684 of 2020
About/from the judgment:
"We are back to square one wherein the FIR has been registered under Section 66A of the I.T. Act, 2000. Prima facie the action discloses complete disregard to the orders of the Hon'ble Apex Court", the High Court said.
The High Court recently quashed a First Information Report registered under Section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008 while relying on Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, wherein the Supreme Court had declared provisions under Section 66A to be ultra vires.
While hearing the matter, the High Court had also pulled up the police officials, stating that,
"We are amazed that despite Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 having been declared ultra vires by the Apex Court in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India, (2015) 5 SCC 1 yet F.I.Rs are being registered in our State under the said provision."
Prior to being struck down as being unconstitutional in 2015, the erstwhile Section 66A of the IT Act created an offence against persons who used the internet to send infomration that, inter alia, annoys or causes inconvenience to others.
The provision was declared ultra vires the Constitution of India in Shreya Singhal's case for being vague and thereby affecting the freedom of speech and expression.
On being faced with yet another FIR citing this Section, the court said,
"We are back to square one wherein the instant FIR has been registered under Section 66-A of the I.T. Act, 2000. Prima facie the action discloses complete disregard to the orders of the Hon'ble Apex Court. We could have summoned the senior police officials but refrain from doing so in view of the current pandemic."
As such, the Court ordered that the investigation and arrest of the petitioner was to remain stayed till the next date of hearing. The Investigating Officer was directed to be physically present along with records and an explanation.
Accordingly, the Officer appeared at the next hearing and filed an affidavit admitting that except for the offence punishable under Section 66A of the IT Act, no other offence is disclosed against the petitioner.
In view of the same, the plea to dismiss the FIR was allowed.
"As in Shreya Singhal Vs. Union of India, (2015) 5 SCC 1, Section 66A of the I.T. Act has been declined ultra vires, the impugned first information report is liable to be quashed and is hereby quashed", reads the order.
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