A tweet can send you to jail for 3 years. Doesn’t it sound ridiculous? But it is true. 45-year-old supplier of plastic parts to telecom companies and a volunteer with India Against Corruption, Ravi Srinivasan has never thought that his one small tweet on reports of corruption, sent out to 16 followers, would put him in a big legal trouble. Young Congress leader and Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti, has filed a complaint against him under Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2008. Section 66A of the IT Act is a relevant section which penalizes ‘sending false and offensive messages through communication services’.
The section reads as under – 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.
For offences under the section, a person can be fined and jailed up to three years.
The tweet which may put Mr. Srinivasan behind bars for 3 years.
@ravi_the_indian : “got reports that karthick chidambaram has amassed more wealth than vadra.”
He tweeted this message on 20th Oct, 2012 through his twitter account to his 16 followers.
The police told him he was being charged because of an e-mail complaint sent by Mr. Karti Chidambaram to the Inspector General of Police, in which he accused him of malicious intent to defame a good man. He was produced before a judicial magistrate and released on bail that evening.
After making this complaint, Karti Chidambaram tweeted on his own Twitter account to his 3655 followers.
@KartiPC. “Free speech is subject to reasonable restrictions. I have a right to seek constitutional/legal remedies over defamatory/scurrilous tweets,”
What’s your take on this issue? Do we all should think twice before tweeting anything about any leader or politician?
Update :: Now Ravi Srinivasan has around 500+ followers. His twitter address is https://twitter.com/ravi_the_indian