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Social Media & Cyber Law 
Does restricting access to social media 
limits one’s individual 
freedom of speech & expression...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
Article 19(1)(a) of The Constitution of India 
guarantees the 
freedom of speech and expression ...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
• Public Order When to be Invoked? 
The Court has held that “public order” may only 
be invoked ...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
• When Morality is Invoked? 
• As held in Ranjit D. Udeshi Case,1964 to be 
invoked when pornogr...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
Is Section 66A Restricting Free Speech on Social Media ? 
A. The SC bench said "this law does no...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
But is Grossly Offensive & Menacing Character Defined 
somewhere ? 
Ans : NO 
What is the proble...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
• What is a Chilling Effect ? 
Chilling effect is a term in law and communication 
that describe...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
Exodus of North-East People 
Government reacted by restricting only 5 SMS 
per day to regulate t...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
What could be the solution to Section 66A 
Ans: 
1. Guidelines to be made explaining with illust...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
Social Media is a good media in the hands of 
common man to express his views and thoughts, 
but...
Social Media & Cyber Law 
Thank You 
prashant.mali@cyberlawconsulting.com 
Mobile : +919821763157 
Twitter: @CyberMahaGuru...
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Social Media and Cyber Law in India By Prashant Mali

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Social Media and Cyber Law for DSCI Infosec event - Prashant Mali
Section 66A of the IT Act,2000 and freedom of expression on internet and social networking websites

Published in: Law

Social Media and Cyber Law in India By Prashant Mali

  1. 1. Social Media & Cyber Law Does restricting access to social media limits one’s individual freedom of speech & expression? Advocate Prashant Mali MSc(Computer Science), LLB, LLM, CCFP, Phd(Persu.) President – Cyber Law Consulting (Advocates & Attorneys) Lawyer , Author & Speaker
  2. 2. Social Media & Cyber Law Article 19(1)(a) of The Constitution of India guarantees the freedom of speech and expression & Article 19(2) permits reasonable restrictions in the interests of – inter alia – “public order, decency or morality”.
  3. 3. Social Media & Cyber Law • Public Order When to be Invoked? The Court has held that “public order” may only be invoked if there is a direct and immediate relation between the offending speech and a public order disturbance – such as, for instance, a speaker making an incendiary speech to an excited mob, advocating imminent violence . Ram Manohar Lohia , 1960 case
  4. 4. Social Media & Cyber Law • When Morality is Invoked? • As held in Ranjit D. Udeshi Case,1964 to be invoked when pornographic materials are concerned
  5. 5. Social Media & Cyber Law Is Section 66A Restricting Free Speech on Social Media ? A. The SC bench said "this law does not silence you. It stops you from saying something offensive. It does not injunct you from speaking, rather, it injuncts you saying something offensive. Freedom of speech does not mean you are free to say anything to anybody." The terms like "grossly offensive" and "menacing character" of an information are not so "vague and any educated person and even uneducated persons understand their meaning,“ 10th December 2014 Wednesday in Supreme Court
  6. 6. Social Media & Cyber Law But is Grossly Offensive & Menacing Character Defined somewhere ? Ans : NO What is the problem Then ? Ans: It is left to Police Officer for Interpretation So What ? Ans: Two Palghar Girls arrested to curb free speech resulted in their speech being broadcast across the country on social media, print media & television. So What This brought in a Chilling Effect
  7. 7. Social Media & Cyber Law • What is a Chilling Effect ? Chilling effect is a term in law and communication that describes a situation When speech is penalized, people will ,out of fear and caution, exercise self-censorship, and the political discourse will be diminished In Ram Jethmalani v Subramaniam Swamy, The Delhi High Court observed: “if a person is under fear of being sued, he may not express himself freely on public issues, and this would chill the public debate.”.
  8. 8. Social Media & Cyber Law Exodus of North-East People Government reacted by restricting only 5 SMS per day to regulate the Speech What Happened ? People went to WhatsApp, BBM & Twitter and these platforms are hard to regulate by Government & LEA. The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it .. John Gilmore , S/W Developer
  9. 9. Social Media & Cyber Law What could be the solution to Section 66A Ans: 1. Guidelines to be made explaining with illustrations what is “Grossly Offensive or having menacing character” 2. Defining or Removing words like annoyance 3. Provision to increase the penalty with the gravity and repeat occurrence of offence 4. Awareness amongst citizens about what speech is offensive and what is not. 5. Teaching Language & Etiquettes of Social Media in School probably in “Community Living Subject”
  10. 10. Social Media & Cyber Law Social Media is a good media in the hands of common man to express his views and thoughts, but wrongly wordings or defamatory speech can destroy some ones life and dignity. Social Media while enhances freedom of speech & expression but simultaneously brings in danger of violating the Law if prudence is not used.
  11. 11. Social Media & Cyber Law Thank You prashant.mali@cyberlawconsulting.com Mobile : +919821763157 Twitter: @CyberMahaGuru www.prashantmali.com

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