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Guidelines to implement IT Act welcome, but is it enough?

It's not just civil society that believes the existing legal machinery isn't clear about implementing certain sections from the Information Technology Act, even the police believes that the amendments brought in by the government on how to take action in cases is welcome.

The provision of law in question, Section 66(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, has been in the eye of a storm following the arrest of two girls for their posts on Facebook. The government yesterday introduced guidelines for the police to follow when registering cases.

"I personally welcome this amendment completely. We have been personally implementing this for 3 years now," Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in Mumbai, said,

Every such arrest in these cases requires the approval of an official of the rank of JCP, he said.

The Palghar arrests showed the dangers of Section 66 (A). PTI

While it might be true of metropolitan cities like Mumbai that have dedicated cyber crime cells in their police stations but what about the several police stations in small towns and districts?

"Cyber crime is a special case and we are in admission of that fact," he said.

He argued that such cases will stop as the police force get more and more sensitised in these cases.

But other than sensitising the implementing agencies, what are the specific changes that should be brought into this Act?

"Terms like enmity, offensive and injury are vague and should be removed from the law. Certain provisions like false message and hatred may be retained  with qualifications," Pawan Duggal, legal expert in cyber crime cases, said.

Calling Section 66 (A) a "life threatening disease" he said, "The law is just not up to the mark. This is largely because the legislations were passed without discussion in both houses of the Parliament."

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