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Centre examining report on new laws to deal with hate speech on internet

New Delhi: The Home Ministry is examining a report submitted by a high-level committee formed to propose new laws or amendments to deal with hate speech on the internet, said informed sources.

The committee, headed by T.K. Viswanathan who served as director of ADR, ICADR and as Secretary General of the Lok Sabha, submitted its report to the Union Home Ministry recently, said the sources.

The committee was formed after the Supreme Court struck down section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.

“The committee has submitted its report on section 66AA of IT Act. The Home Ministry is examining the report. Final report on cyber security law is awaited,” said a Home Ministry source.

Considering the growing menace of hate speech ans abuse on internet in the absence of the provision, the committee was reportedly set up to propose new laws/amendments in existing laws and is understood to have suggested that section 78 of the IT Act needs to be substituted and Section 153 and 505A of the Indian Penal Code need to be amended.A

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It said that Section 78 primarily dealt with capacity building and needs to be relooked at with a view to sensitize the officers of law enforcement agencies. Under it, a police officer of the rank of inspector or above was empowered to investigate offences.

In its report, which relied on the 267th report of the Law Commission of India and international legislation, the committee has recommended that each state should have a State Cyber Crime Coordinator which should be an officer not below the rank of Inspector General of Police.

The committee has also suggested that each district to have a District Cyber Crime Cell headed by an officer not below the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police.

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