Meet The Girl Behind Passing of Sec 66A – Speech Freedom Online
- IWB Post
- March 25, 2015
So, the Supreme Court has finally smacked down section 66A – the law that allowed people to be jailed for Facebook posts, the law that kept our freedom of speech hidden.
Entered Indian woman Shreya Singhal, the 21 yr old who filed the petition in 2012 expressing her disapproval. Now 24, Shreya is studying in the Delhi University’s Faculty of Law. Her petition was drafted by lawyers Ninad Laud and Ranjita Rohatgi. Last week it has changed the course of freedom of speech online in India.
She spent three years studying astrophysics in the UK before returning to India to apply to law schools. Her attention was drawn to several high-profile arrests of people under Section 66A.
She says – “Sec 66A is being misused by BJP governments, Congress governments… all over the country. Even when the Congress was in power, it was being misused. Governments have their own political agenda; a law has to be for the people.”
She learned about the arrest of 2 girls for putting up an “offensive” status questioning Mumbai’s shutdown after the death of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray. Soon after, she along with her team drafted the petition and filed it in court.
She shares – “I have seen the sheer amount of work that was put in to write the petition and argue it in court. The amount of research that goes into arguing the case and even writing a judgment is immense. I learnt a lot.”
“I felt like I wasn’t doing it for one person who got arrested, but for everyone. In our diverse country, this is where we need our freedom the most, to express ourselves freely where there aren’t six degrees of separation.”
Expressing her joy, she said – “Nobody should have fear of putting up something because of the fear of going to prison. The court has upheld the rights of all citizens today.”