news Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | August 5, 2014 | 11.58 am IST There has been opposition to the government’s recent amendment to the Goonda Act, which has brought several offences under its ambit including sexual offences. Legal experts have criticized the amendment as it allows the police to arrest merely on suspicion, according to Deccan Chronicle. The Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug Offenders, Slum Grabbers and Video or Audio Pirates Act, was amended by the Karnataka government recently following pressure to take strict action against sexual offenders. Accordingly, the government amended the act to bring sexual offences, acid attacks, and certain offences under the Copyright Act and Information Technology Act under the ambit of the Goonda Act.  According to the Deccan Chronicle report, the amendment now allows the police to make an arrest on mere suspicion, and the provisions already in place in the act allow the police to detain suspects for up to a year. The process of getting bail is very strict for offences under this law. A report in Bangalore Mirror quoted Sunil Abraham, executive director, Centre for Internet and Society, as saying that the amendment was "a terrible thing". He said: "It is a sad development. It is not just bringing the provisions of the IT Act, but also the Copyright Act, that will hurt the common man.". The report also said: “'Digital Offenders' means "any person who knowingly or deliberately violates, for commercial purposes, any copyright law in relation to any book, music, film, software, artistic or scientific work and also includes any person who illegally enters through the identity of another user and illegally uses any computer or digital network for pecuniary gain for himself or any other person or commits any of the offences specified under sections 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74 and 75 of the Information Technology Act, 2000." “Section 67 of the IT Act will be the most dangerous for the common man with a smartphone in hand now. The section, "Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form," includes "any material which is lascivious or appeal to the prurient interest." This could have a very broad interpretation.”

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