New IT Act guidelines to make arrests harder

The Centre, acting after widespread nationwide outrage over misuse of the Information Technology Act, said on Thursday it would issue new guidelines by which only a police officer not below the rank of deputy commissioner of police could permit registration of a case under its controversial Section 66(A). This provision allows cases to be registered against those who simply cause “annoyance” to others by their Internet activities.
This was decided at a meeting of the cyber regulation advisory committee chaired by Union minister Kapil Sibal, who holds charge of information technology. No police officer will be able to register a case under Section 66(A) without the approval of a DCP-rank officer in urban and rural areas, and an IGP-rank officer in metros.
The Supreme Court also stepped in Thursday and said it would hear a PIL by Delhi law student Shreya Singhal to amend or scrap the controversial section. Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said: “The way little children were arrested has outraged the sentiments of the country.” The bench said it was considering taking suo motu notice of these recent incidents and wondered why nobody had so far challenged this particular provision. The bench sought the opinion of attorney-general G.E. Vahanvati on this, and decided to hear the matter on Friday.

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