Thursday, 29 November 2012

Over reach of police

Two girls were arrested by the Maharashtra police force for posting a comment on face book. It was preposterous.Police had shown their power to arrest when they felt it was right to do so.This arrest was not needed. When newspapers publicised this, there was immediate action taken--guidelines to the Information Technology Act of 2000 were made.Section 66-A of Information Technology Act phrased "offences". And now,no offences under this section can be registered by police officer below the rank of a Deputy Commissioner of Police in non-metro and rural areas, and rank of an Inspector General in urban areas.What is "offencive"or "malicious"? This is what is described as offencive:"grossly offencive in character or has a menacing character, or is sent to cause announce, insult, inconvenience, danger,obstruction, ill-will and enmity, hatred for criminal, intimidation" The offence is punishable up to three years' imprisonment and a fine;it is a bailable offence.
These guidelines are just a reaction or response to the outrage. What is needed is more clear definition of what is exactly "offencive" Each of the words mentioned above must be explained more deeply; they must be described better.Each kind of offence should be differentiated. We must make provision so that police cannot register a case easily without a proper court order; because anything can be interpreted as an offence. Law is left up to interpretation of vague terms which are undefined. If  punishment has to be given, it should be reduced to a fine only(not imprisonment).
Is it possible to police the vast Internet?Should the Internet be policed in a democracy like ours? We have the freedom to publish in the newspaper, so we must have the freedom on cyber space too. Are police trying to control people's freedom of expression. Are we becoming a police state?
Now the Supreme Court is going  to merely educate the police officers. But is that enough? The law must be changed, so that vague terms are not used.Civil liberties are being reduced by misleading words in this section of the Constitution.

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