Indian media: Internet freedom, cricket clash and cow urine 'disinfectant'

Internet freedom activists have praised the court's ruling Image copyright AP
Image caption Internet freedom activists have praised the court's ruling

Papers are ecstatic over the Supreme Court's decision to scrap a controversial law which "curbed" freedom of speech on the internet.

The court on Tuesday struck down the law which allowed police to arrest people for comments on social networks and other internet sites.

The court ruled that Section 66A of the Information Technology Act was unconstitutional.

Papers have praised the court in their editorials on Wednesday.

The Times of India says the law "skewed the constitutional balance between freedom of expression and public good".

"The internet has become a part of everyday life. To see this as a danger is wrong. On the contrary IT communication platforms empower citizens and shore up accountability in democracy," it says.

The Tribune says the court has "upheld the right to speak up".

"The right to freedom of speech on the Internet has been upheld. Nobody can be arrested for any online post or get content removed without a court or judicial order," says the paper in its editorial.

Image copyright Hindustan Times

For the Hindustan Times, the apex court has "resolutely set in stone the freedom to express ourselves, without the fear of the state".

"It is almost as if we were fighting for basic civil rights all over again and won the battle," it says.

Politicians' 'brazen authoritarianism'

Papers have severely criticised India's political parties for defending the law.

"This unpopular legislation was endorsed by the political class, including the Congress and the BJP, which passed it without adequate discussion and continued to back it," says the Hindustan Times.

The Times of India criticises the ruling Bharatiya Jana Party (BJP) for changing its stance on the law.

"BJP had opposed Section 66A when it was in opposition. It was illogical to reverse that position when the party came to power, especially since its 2014 Lok Sabha [parliament] campaign relied heavily on IT communication," it says.

The Asian Age says the court has given more rights to ordinary citizens.

"The court has rendered signal service not only to freedom of speech and expression on the Internet but also towards rescuing the common man from misuse of the law in brazen authoritarianism on the part of politicians and the state machinery they control," it says.

Big game, bigger expectations

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Opener Rohit Sharma is confident of winning the match

Moving to some sports news, papers have reflected the excitement ahead of India's semi-final clash with host Australia in the cricket World Cup on Thursday.

The winner of this match will take on New Zealand in the final on Sunday.

Defending champions India have not lost a single match in the tournament so far. Australia have also performed well, but do not have a clean slate because the Kiwis beat them in the group stages.

An article in Times of India describes the clash as "the biggest match of the competition".

The article by cricket analyst Boria Majumdar rejects criticisms that India may not be able to beat a well-balanced side like Australia.

"India have turned it around in the most unexpected of ways and to expect them to surrender tamely isn't real. They will want to put their best foot forward making it a cracker of a contest, something this world cup very badly needs," he writes.

The NDTV website puts faith in India's batting prowess and the bowlers' ability to take wickets.

"Amazingly, India have piled up 300-plus scores every time they have batted first and dismissed the opposition in all seven matches so far," it writes.

Cow urine 'disinfectant'

Image copyright PIB
Image caption Maneka Gandhi is the federal minister for women and child development

And finally, federal minister Maneka Gandhi has backed the use of "natural disinfectant'' made from extracts of cow urine instead of the "chemically bad'' one in government offices, The Times of India reports.

"In a letter to her colleagues in the council of ministers, Ms Gandhi has proposed a switch to 'gaunyle' - cleaning liquid made from cow urine extracts, arguing that it's environment-friendly," the paper reports.

Other ministers in the current BJP government have also backed the use of products made from cow urine. Many Hindus consider cow a sacred animal and BJP draws its support mainly from Hindu groups.

The paper reports that federal minister Sripad Naik had "vouched for the number of ayurvedic drug companies that were manufacturing medicinal formulations made from 'panchgavya', a collective name of five products obtained from cow including its urine and dung".

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