The ‘Zombie Tracker’ is a platform which monitors cases which include a charge under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000 (as amended in 2008).


Duty of High Courts

  • Articles 227 and 235 of the Constitution of India, High Courts are granted supervisory jurisdiction and administrative powers to maintain the efficient, smooth and orderly functioning of District Court and Tribunals, within its jurisdiction. These powers include:
    • making and issuing general rules for regulating the practice and proceedings of such courts; and
    • monitoring the day to day functioning of these courts.
  • These powers granted by Articles 227 and 235, entrust the High Courts with the duty to ensure effective communication of Supreme Court decisions to the subordinate courts within its jurisdiction, and also ensure compliance with such orders
  • However, as our evidence illustrates this oversight mechanism has failed in this case. A perusal of the High Court Rules published by the Delhi High Court, we found that there was no provision for communicating decisions from the Supreme Court to the lower courts.
  • We recommend that the Judiciary frame specific guidelines for the dissemination of important judgements to the lower courts, at the High Court and District Court level.

Public Prosecutors

  • Under section 24 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the Central or State Government shall appoint a Public Prosecutor for every High Court to for conducting in such Court, any prosecution, appeal or other proceedings on behalf of the Central Government or State Government, as the case may be. Similarly, the State Government shall appoint a Public Prosecutor for each district within that state. The Central or State Government, as the case may be, must frame a procedure for the dissemination of important judgements to all Public Prosecutors, both in the High Court and District Court.
  • The Public Prosecutors must, in a prosecution including a void charge such as Section 66A of the IT Act, bring the Court’s notice to the decision of the Supreme Court. This acts as a two-step mechanism, where if the Court had not received information about the decision it can be highlighted by the Public Prosecutor.

Legal Aid Services

  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
  • In every State, the State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court who is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal Services Authority.
  • Further, in every District, the District Legal Services Authority has been constituted to implement Legal Services Programmes in the District. The District Legal Services Authority is situated in the District Courts Complex in every District and chaired by the District Judge of the respective district.
  • The Department of Justice, functioning under the Ministry of Law & Justice, "implements important schemes for Infrastructure Development of Subordinate Judiciary, the E-court Project on computerization of various courts across the country, Legal Aid to Poor and Access to Justice."
  • We recommend that the Department of Justice frame a procedure for conveying decisions of constitutional import to the National and State Legal Aid Services. The Department of Justice should also frame guidelines directing the State Legal Aid Services to ensure that this information is passed down to the District Legal Services Authority within that state.
  • District Legal Aid Services can in turn convey this information to their local police station. Therefore, even if the law enforcement institutions fail to convey the messages to the police stations, this serves a valuable safety net.

Cybercrime cells

  • The National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal under the Ministry of Home Affairs provides a portal for victims to report cybercrimes with special focus on cyber crimes against women and children. Additionally, most states have their own state-level cyber crime cell to investigate complaints on cybercrimes.
  • These Cyber Crime Cells also run awareness programs to educate the public on common cyber crimes such as fraud and phishing.
  • We recommend that specific guidelines be frame by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the State Home Departments to convey decisions of constitutional import to the cybercrime cells.
  • We recommend that the cybercrime cells forward important information on crimes committed electronically, such as the decision in Shreya Singhal, to local police stations within their State. Further, we urge the cyber crime cells to include within their awareness programs, information informing the public about their rights on the internet.

Concluding thoughts

  • It is important to note that issues raised by ‘legal zombies’ like Section 66A are not due to a single point of failure. All the stakeholders under the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and Law enforcement have been compliant in this regard. 
  • Their failure to ensure an oversight mechanism has resulted in the conceited use of an unconstitutional principle and thereby diluting the significance of the decision of the Supreme Court. Even a single person prosecuted under an unconstitutional provision points to a complete failure to obey the highest court in the country. 
  • The Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and Law Enforcement must act now, own their responsibility and ensure accountability and transparency within the system. 
  • The data of courts at the district level reflects the ground realities and a complete, clear and up to date record of cases is of utmost importance in ensuring an accountable and transparent system.