Technology Law Analysis
March 26, 2015
Freedom of Online Speech
Supreme Court upholds online right to freedom of expression and clarifies instances where intermediary is obliged to take down / block online content
In a landmark judgement on March 23, 2015 on the Information Technology Act 2000 (“IT Act”), the Supreme Court reinforced the strength of the Indian democracy and the independence of the judiciary.
The IT Act is a legislation that was enacted to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and amend certain other legislations which had an impact on electronic commerce and e-governance. However, certain provisions of the IT Act have been felt to be draconian in the manner that they impacted individual freedom, particularly the fundamental right to freedom of expression.
There have been various instances where provisions of the IT Act have been thought to be overbroad and capable of abuse. Over the years there has been severe criticism from the general public and advocacy groups.
In this progressive judgement, the Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional provisions which were in violation of fundamental rights and has held that “the law should not be used in a manner that has chilling effects on the “freedom of speech and expression”.
The broad contours of this judgement are as follows:
For a detailed analysis of this judgement, please click here.
– Smitha Krishna Prasad, Huzefa Tavawalla, Rakhi Jindal & Gowree Gokhale
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