criticismover its controversial amendment to the Police Act,
the Kerala government on Monday said it would take all
necessary steps to ensure that the law brought with “good
intention” to check cyberbullying was not misused.
Amid concerns that the amended law was an assault on
freedom of speech and media, the BJP said it would approach
the Kerala High Court against the implementation of the new
provision that provides for imprisonment up to five years to
those making defamatory social media posts.
The Congress, which has dubbed the amendment as a tacit
move to silence critics and media, staged a protest march.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday signed the
Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance brought by the CPI-M led
Left front government envisaging addition of Section 118-A to
prevent cyber attacks against women and children.
State Law Minister A K Balan on Monday assured there was
no need for any concern regarding the new amendment and said
it was made in accordance with the changing times.
The provision was brought in with the good intention to
check cyberbullying, especially against women, and not aimed
at curtailing the freedom of the Press, he said.
“The government will take all necessary precautions to
ensure that the act is not misused. It will be implemented
only after addressing all concerns in this regard,” he said in
The minister described as wrong propaganda that offences,
registered under the act, were non-bailable and would invite
imprisonment for five years.
“Even if it is a cognizableoffence, it is bailable under
the act,” Balan added.
Meanwhile, state police chief Loknath Behera has said a
special Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) would be prepared
before taking any action under the amendment.
The SoP would be prepared in consultation with legal
experts, he said.
“This is to ensure that the ordinanceis not misusedin
any way,” the top officer said in a statement.
BJP state president K Surendran said he would approach
the Kerala High Court against the implementation of the
amended Kerala Police Act.
“It is an infringementon the freedom of expression and
violation of constitutional rights. The BJP will fight it
legally and politically. I will approach the Kerala High Court
against it,” he told reporters.
The Congress took out a protest march to the Secretariat,
the administrative hub here, alleging that the amended Act
would curtail the freedom of the press.
As the ordinance has invited criticismfrom across the
country, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Sunday said
his government would consider creative suggestions on the
He had also said the government has the responsibility to
uphold the freedom of the press as well as that of the
citizens andmaintained that the amendment would not hamper
the freedom to criticise.
The section 118-A stipulates either imprisonment for up
to five years or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or both to those
who produce, publish or disseminate content through any means
of communication with an intention to intimidate, insult or
defame any person through social media.
The opposition parties have alleged that the amendment,
cleared by the state cabinet last month, would give more power
to the police and also curtail the freedom of the press. PTI
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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