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Police don't read footnotes, so they charge 1300 persons under a defunct act, apex court discovers

July 6 2021: It can only happen in India:   The Police  have filed over a thousand  cases against individuals depriving many of them of their liberty, citing a section of the Information Technology Act  -- section 66A -- that the  Supreme Court  has struck down, over 6 years ago, in March 2015.
"It is shocking, distressing and amazing that police across the country are still registering cases under Section 66A of Information Technology Act",  a  3-judge bench of apex court said yesterday.
This flows from a case filed by the People's Union for Civil Liberties, before the court. Appearing for petitioner, senior advocate Sanjay Parikh said that before Sec 66A was struck down, there were 687 cases filed under it.
Even after the section was struck down, there are 1307 cases,  he added.
Section 66A of the IT Act allowed arrests for posting offensive content on social media sites. The controversial provision made posting offensive material on  social network sites an offence punishable by up to three years in jail.
If the fact itself was  bizarre, even more so was the explanation offered by the Advocate General K K Venugopal on behalf of government :  The printed copies of the Act published after striking down of Sec 66A still contained the provision with a small footnote that says the SC has struck down the Section.
"No policeman actually looks at footnote,” Venugopal said.
The SC has  issued a notice to the Centre in the matter and said, "we will do something". This report is sourced from the  Times of India