What you should know about new amendment in Goonda law passed by Karnataka Legislative Assembly

  • The amendment was passed on 28th July 2014 . Interestingly part is that it took just 4 minutes to get this bill passed in 255 member seated assembly.
  • As per The latest 2014 amendment of the Goonda Act includes Digital Offenders also under the purview of the Act
  • Digital offender defined -“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.”
  • Why goonda act is draconian –  You can be taken into custody to take preventive measure even if you have not committed any crime.If the arrest is recorded under Goonda act , you don’t need to be produced before  magistrate for a period extensible up to 1 year.
  • Freedom of speech – Actions in the digital world includes a lot about people expressing themselves. Applying Goonda Act  to digital world, will impact the Freedom of Speech and Expression of the person as the person is restrained even before the action.
  • Misusing – Government claims that, there are safeguards in the Goonda Act itself which requires DCP+ rank officer to give the order and not from the local police station. Also after the arrest a bench of 3 sitting high court judges should ratify the order and can strike it down if found unreasonable. However the history of Indian jurisprudence has seen misuse of laws in extremist ways. Section 66 A can is a great example. ( Remember Two girls were arrested over their FaceBook post questioning the shutdown in the city for Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray’s funeral)