| 22 Mar 2023
Government fully supportive of freedom of speech: Ravi Shankar Prasad

NEW DELHI: Communications and Information Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has said that the government fully backs freedom of speech.

The Minister was answering a question relating to the controversial Section 66A of the IT Act 2000.
Section 66A defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device like a mobile phone or a tablet. A conviction can fetch a maximum of three years in jail and a fine.

(The Supreme Court is already examining the constitutional validity of Section 66A of the amended IT Act following a batch of petitions alleging the section impinges upon the Fundamental Right to freedom of speech and expression.)

The Minister said, "The case was pending in the court before I joined the Ministry."

Addressing a press meet in Delhi, Prasad also said that full mobile number portability will become operational from July and consumers will get to keep the same numbers even when changing the telecom service provider.

He also announced that the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited will offer free roaming all over the country from 15 June.

The telecom minister further added that spectrum sharing and trading policy will go to cabinet this month.