R.I.P Section 66A But May Our Conscience Never Die

RIP-Section-66A

While our ancestors gave us the power of words, we struggle even to this day to make the right use of words. Did you know that every zebra has a unique pattern on its body, no matter how similar two zebras look, they are never alike. We have the power of words at our disposal, hence more than the faces it is the words that make each human unique.

The Supreme Court’s verdict on Section 66A of the IT Act to strike it down came as the last nail in the coffin for this, much debated law. The incidents of people being arrested for voicing out their opinions on some of the public figures in India posed numerous questions on our right for freedom of speech. While this verdict came as a relief to the public, it did leave the so called public figures grinding their teeth.

What we speak is what we think, what we think is what we believe, what we believe is what we experience and what we experience is partly our own deeds and partly what our destiny brings on our plate. Freedom of speech is a basic right that every citizen of any democratic nation must have. We are part of a hypocritical system where it is considered justified for a 12th class student to get arrested for making comments about a politician while the same politician in the past went to the extent of comparing our present prime minister with a dog in one of his many controversial speeches.

Such a provision in the IT Act did give the police the right to make arrests, which was hugely violated at will or under undue pressure from the political parties. Whatever be the case, such arrests did make the citizens question their liberty to express their views. The agitation was more pronounced because of the bias that was shown towards the citizens rather than the law itself, as in case of most of the laws that exist.

Turning the table around, recently there was another disturbing stream of posts on Facebook that I came across. Some students in Karnataka posted insensitive comments about the deceased IAS officer D K Ravi, as the one day close called on after his death made the exams get postponed for a later date than scheduled. Such blunt use of words might be another practice of freedom of speech but such an act of callousness does call for moral police. Such posthumous cyber bullying certainly poses big questions on the insensitivity that spreading like termite in our society.

Laws are made to protect the people. Abolishing a certain law that was misused will certainly call for accolades on part of our judicial system. But there can never be any law robust enough to protect us from our own thoughts.

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