Section 66A of IT Act unravelled

Section 66A of the Informational Technology Act was quashed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, terming it vague.

The section reads:

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“66 A Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.

Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device –

a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

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 makes by making use of such computer
resource or a communication device,

c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing
annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about
the origin of such messages shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two three years and with fine.

Explanation: For the purposes of this section, terms “Electronic mail” and “Electronic Mail Message” means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, image, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.”

The Information Technology Act came into force in 2000, but Section 66A was added as an amendment in 2008 which was notified in February 2009.