India’s top court affirmed people’s right to free speech in cyberspace Tuesday by striking down a provision that had called for imprisoning people who send “offensive” messages by computer or cellphone.
The provision, known as Section 66A of the 2008 Information Technology Act, had made sending such messages a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the provision was “clearly vague” in not clarifying what should be construed as offensive. It also said the provision violates people’s freedom of speech and their right to share information.
“The public’s right to know is directly affected,” the judges said in deeming the provision unconstitutional.