Delhi Police on 15 July 2013 issued an order instructing its investigation officers to make no arrests on the basis of provisions available under Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, without prior approval from a person of Deputy Commissioner of Police Rank.
The orders were issued by KK Vyas, the DCP of Economic Offences Wing, following the Supreme Court directive in the Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India case. In this case the Supreme Court instructed the states to implement an advisory by the Central Government making sure that without prior permission from senior officers no person should be arrested for passing alleged derogatory remarks on social networking websites.
The decision of the Supreme Court of India came following the application filed by Shreya Singhal in the year 2012 to the Court challenging the constitutional validity of the provision of the IT Act alleging of being misused and as a violation of Article 21 of Constitution of India (right to life and personal liberty). Shreya Singhal filed her petition following the arrest of two girls by Thane police, who critrisized the Mumbai Bandh that was organized to mourn for the death of Bal Thackeray, the then Chief of Shiv Sena.
Section 66A of the IT Act states – Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc
Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,—
(a) Any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
(b) Any information, which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,
(c) Any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages,
Shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.