Most software code has dependencies. Simple and reproducible methods exist for mapping and understanding the impact of these dependencies. Legal code also has dependencies –across court orders and within a single court order. And since court orders are not produced using a structured mark-up language, experts are required to understand the precedential value of a court order.
Vidushi Marda, programme officer at the Centre for Internet and Society, was responsible for all the research that went into this article.
As a non–lawyer and engineer, I cannot authoritatively comment on the Supreme Court’s order in Shreya Singhal vs Union of India (2015) on sections of the Information Technology Act of 2000, so I have tried to summarise a variety of views of experts in this article. The Shreya Singhal order is said to be unprecedented at least for the last four decades and also precedent setting as its lucidity, some believe, will cause a ripple effect in opposition to a restrictive understanding of freedom of speech and expression, and an expansiveness around reasonable restrictions. Let us examine each of the three sections that the bench dealt with.