The Kerala Government has decided to not implement the recently amended Kerala Police Act after constructive criticism by multiple sections of the society. The Act amended under an ordinance, for the unaware, sought a jail term for any social media abuse or offensive cyber post.
After the state secretariat meeting of the CPI (M), Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stated that the government does not want to implement the amended act.
“With the announcement of the amendment, different opinions have emerged from various quarters. Those who support the LDF as well as those who stand for the protection of democracy have raised concern about the amendment. Under these circumstances, the government does not want to implement the amended act. Further action would be taken only after a detailed debate in the State Assembly and after hearing opinions from all sides,” Vijayan said this morning.
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The decision, to not implement the law, came after the intervention of the internal members of CPI (M), which is the largest party among parties that collectively form the government in Kerala. The other parties, including CPI, have quoted the law as draconian.
On Friday, the Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammad Khan, had approved an ordinance to add a new section, 118(A), to the Kerala Police Act. As per the ordinance, a person who creates or sends any information that is offensive or is intended to offend or threaten another person is liable to face imprisonment of three years or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both.
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While the government said that the amendment will keep in check the misuse of social media, others, on the other hand, quotes it as an authoritarian amendment that bars one of their Right to Speech.
Vijayan on Sunday, while detailing the ordinance, claimed that the law would not be used against “free speech” or “impartial journalism”.
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BJP state president K Surendran said the amendment was aimed at “silencing all political protest”. Chief Minister Vijayan described such “apprehensions” as “unfounded”
Feature image credits – Satish Acharya