SC seeks AG's help in deciding plea to amend IT Act
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Shreya also referred to an April 2012 incident, when a professor of chemistry from Jadavpur University in West Bengal, Ambikesh Mahapatra, was arrested for posting a cartoon concerning a political figure (Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) on social networking sites.
She also referred to the arrest of businessman Ravi Srinivasan in October 2012 by the Puducherry Police for having made a allegation on twitter against a politician from Tamil Nadu as well as the May 2012 arrests of Air India employees V Jaganatharao and Mayank Sharma by the Mumbai Police for posting contents on Facebook and Orkut against a trade union leader and some politicians.
She submitted in her plea that "it would amount to little consolation to say that the right to free speech of a citizen will eventually be vindicated at the end of an extended legal proceeding."
"Hence, it is submitted that the protection of the fundamental right to free speech necessitates the existence of a safety walls at the very threshold of setting the criminal law into motion," she has said.
Shreya in her plea has also sought issue of guidelines, by the apex court, to "reconcile section 41 and 156 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code with Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution" and that offences under the Indian penal Code and any other legislation, if they involve the freedom of speech and expression, be treated as a non-cognisable offence for the purposes of Section 41 and Section 156 (1).
Section 41 of the CrPC empowers the police to arrest any person without an order from the magistrate and without a warrant in the event that the offence involved is a cognisable offence.
Section 156 (1) empowers the investigation by the police into a cognisable offence without an order of a magistrate.
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