Over 3,000 people were arrested by police last year for violating section 66A of the Information Technology Act despite it being struck down in March 2015. The top court had ruled Section 66A violated the constitutional freedom of speech and expression.
However, the exact number of people arrested is not available. According to National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) Crime in India report released last month, 3,137 arrests were made in 2015, while 2,423 arrests were made the previous year. On an average, four people were arrested every 12 hours in 2015 as compared to three in 2014.
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Police also appeared to be on an overdrive to file charge sheets against people booked before the SC verdict – in 1,500 cases last year, almost twice the 2014 figure. NCRB statistics suggests that trials too did not end.
There were 575 people still in jail on January 1, 2016, twice as many as the 275 in prison when the law was in force a year earlier. In 2015, the courts also convicted accused in 143 cases.
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