In defense of Article 66 of the Indian IT Act

ABSOLUTIST CITIZENS OF INDIA, the fair and just Government of India (GoI) has brought about a law that will change the way you behave online. The article 66 of the Indian IT Act (Amended 2008) will make sure you don’t cause trouble or inconvience to anyone.

GoI is like a traditional Indian parent, willing, giving and protective of its citizens. How do we repay the generosity? We criticize & cause a substantial social media outrage against the first citizen first son-in-law of India for saying something silly like, “Mango people of a Banana republic“. Where is your sense of humor? Agh and you are asking for freedom of speech and what not. For shame, it is a two way street and we were just so wrong.

The GoI has always stood up against things that are objectionable. They have built up pressure to keep the internet clean; just ask Google, Facebook, BlackBerry and the likes. Our government is brave, they even offered to monitor each and every post that goes on social media networks, what more can we ask for?

Remember Savita Bhabhi? Of course you do. That website was an attack on the image of the women in India, it was insulting and GoI took it down. So what if the servers were in Russia? Their priorities are straight — keep the internet clean. If Lord Ram could have gone all the way to Lanka to protect Sita, we cannot just take down a puny little server in Russia?

Of course we can and aren’t we glad that the dignity of women is restored? I mean, how healthy is it to be compassionate and lust for the same woman, egad, our nation is proud of its sexual dysfunction. If you grew up in India, then you must know that bhabhi thoughts and fantasies are quite common. We all have the thoughts but keep that locked, we don’t need to get them out on a comic for outlet. NO!!

Freedom of speech are encompassed in Article 19 1 (a)* and it comes with reasonable restrictions. The restrictions are as follows:

  1. Sovereignty and integrity of India.
  2. Security of the state.
  3. Friendly relations with foreign states.
  4. Public Order.
  5. Decency and Morality.
  6. Contempt of court.
  7. Defamation.
  8. Incitement to an offence.

But we the awful people still found a way to bypass these restrictions by criticizing our supreme leaders, ruling class elected representatives. How can a feudal democracy function in such stifling public situations? Taking a cue and lesson from our neighboring countries Pakistan (where a young blogger was shot) and China (well, its China) we drew up laws that would bring peace of mind for GoI.

About article 66 of the Indian IT Act

The article engulfs what is punishable under the act. Sending information with the means of computer resource or any communication device in the form of any electronic mail or electronic mail message. The broad definition of mail message would include facebook or twitter posts or text messages and everything that is sent or published using the aforementioned devices.

The masterstroke is the clause B of the Article 66. Making sure that the broadest and the most ambiguous words that one would find, it would find you in the wrong. Brilliantly used words that stand out like beacons are annoyance and inconvenience. So a twitter rant of yours against any person would be termed persistent use of a resource to cause trouble. What will a rant on twitter or via any electronic message cost you? Well, a jail term of three years with a fine. Generally, the law reads “jail term or a fine or both”; but here it is dictated that the accused be subjected to both the penalties. Which is sort of ironic as more heinous crimes go unnoticed or unpunished in this country.

(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

Let me demonstrate: On the evening of November 5th, 2012, I came across an article in DNA (an Indian newspaper) that listed IIPM as the 6th best business schools in India. A little surprised at the same, I tweeted out the following:

Within 24 hours of tweeting that, there was a certain lady by the name ‘Bianca Rushmore’ who started questioning my tweet and intentions — I might have caused some considerable inconvenience. My best guess is that she on the behest of the said institute is monitoring the social media site for the hashtag(#) IIPM. She did not seem pleased with my comments and this is the conversation that followed:

 

 

Now, if the Honorary Dean of IIPM, Arindam Chaudhari feels like more has to be done then he can file a case against me under the act. Too far-fetched an idea, you say? Well, it has happened when Karti Chidambaram was upset over a tweet or Mamata Banerjee was upset over an email and in the so many cases that go unnoticed.

We are India, the largest feudal democracy. Our government is more fair and just than our neighboring countries. Our leaders being judicious, capable, young, flawless, honest and we have no authority or need to question but adhere to their decisions, we are just but minions in the functioning of the country. Speech, expression and need for participation in an active democracy is passé. We will behave online as we do offline, our senses will be numb to injustice around cause we are not protesting or speaking against such a draconian law passed in disguise and hurry to beat the public eye. No candle light vigil for our fundamental rights.

*In India, we do not have laws relating to media in specific but are encompassed in the article 19 1 (A)

Note: Salient features of the IT Amendment Act 2008

7 comments » Write a comment

    • @ShaunakVijayKarade The format of the article is satire. I tried my best to make my point in this paragraph, ”
      We will behave online as we do offline, our senses will be numb to injustice around cause we are not protesting or speaking against such a draconian law passed in disguise and hurry to beat the public eye. No candle light vigil for our fundamental rights.”
       
      And no, I am not FOR that law but I’m dead against it.

    • @ShaunakVijayKarade I tried to write it with absolute seriousness but was getting too technical. Sarcasm helps understand the toughest topics, what do you think?

  1. With the whole fb post episode that happened today, its good to have read this cos it really throws light on what they mean when they refer to these laws! Really wonder if we are progressing ir regressing with each passing day. Very sad state of affairs indeed!

  2. @sr7775 I am glad that it helped. We will be writing more on privacy law here on WTGa, so stay tuned.

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