Maha Police to take action against those who 'like' objectionable content online

According to Maharashtra Police, the move is aimed at containing protests over objectionable posts on Facebook.

Published Date
03 - Jun - 2014
| Last Updated
03 - Jun - 2014
Maha Police to take action against those who 'like' objectionable...

You may land in trouble for 'liking' objectionable content on the social networking websites. Maharashtra Police have said those who like the controversial posts online will be booked under the Information Technology Act and under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

According to a TOI report, a person could be imprisoned three to five years if convicted under Section 66 (a) of the IT Act (punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc). 

Police say the move is to contain protests over objectionable content on a social networking site about Chhatrapati Shivaji, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. Police, however, haven't yet tracked down the Internet Protocol address of the person (yet unidentified) who posted the content online. There are chances it was done through a proxy server.

Protests were held across Maharashtra over the weekend after inflammable content were spotted/spread on the Internet. 

There were protests across Maharashtra over the weekend after the posts containing allegedly derogatory references were spotted. While protesters in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad went on the rampage on Saturday, on Sunday, traffic was held up at the Khalapur toll plaza on the Mumbai-Pune expressway for about half-an-hour. Also, shops were shut in Nerul, Koparkhairane and Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai over rumours that a political party had called for a bandh.

Moreover, Police have filed cases against unidentified persons in Mumbai, Nerul, Pune, Nashik, Yeola, Aurangabad, Satara and Sangli. Policy have applied Section 295A IPC, which includes punishment for speech, writings or signs which 'with deliberate and malicious intention'' insult the religion or the religious beliefs of any class of citizens.

Mumbai police's cyber crime investigation cell has taken over the probe of the case. "Three different pages about these objectionable posts were created on Facebook. We have blocked all of them. Police are also taking help from the computer emergency response team (CERT). Besides, a letter has been sent to Facebook to furnish details about the persons who created the pages," says Deven Bharti, inspector general of police (law and order).

Section 66 (a) of the IT Act has been widely criticised across the country, especially after cases of abuse of the law by police.  Back in 2012, two Mumbai girls were arrested over a Facebook post criticising shutdown in Mumbai during Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's funeral. Later, the charges were dropped. A Kolkata professor was arrested for allegedly forwarding derogatory cartoons representing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Advocates of freedom of expression have criticised Section 66 (a) of the IT Act and called for abolishing or modifying the law in order to prevent its abuse.  What's your take on the Section 66 (a) of the IT Act? Let us know your views in the comments section below: