Following public protest against the new Police Act which put curbs on free speech, the left ruled Kerala government has decided to put on hold the implementation of the act. It is not clear whether the government is going to repeal the act. In a statement, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said “the Government of Kerala will not go ahead with implementing the amendment. A detailed discussion will be held in the Assembly regarding this, and the future course of action will be decided upon after duly considering the opinions coming up from all quarters.”

As per the new Section 118A in the Kerala Police Act, police are empowered to register cases against offensive, intimidating, and defamatory content spread on social media platforms including WhatsApp Groups, Twitter, and Facebook.

Here is the full text of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Statement:

The Kerala Government had decided to amend the Kerala Police Act in an effort to check the widespread malicious campaigns through social media and otherwise, which pose a threat to individual freedom and dignity, which are constitutionally ensured to citizens.

Criticisms and complaints against defamatory, untrue and obscene campaigns have come up from various quarters of the society. Strong protests have emerged from the society on account of the merciless attacks on various sections including women and transgenders. There have been instances in which even the integrity of families has been affected, resulting in suicides. The need for legally tackling this was raised even by the heads of media houses. It was in these circumstances that an amendment to the Kerala Police Act was envisaged.

The amendment evoked varied responses from several corners. Apprehensions were aired by those who support the LDF and stand for democracy. In these circumstances, the Government of Kerala will not go ahead with implementing the amendment. A detailed discussion will be held in the Assembly regarding this, and the future course of action will be decided upon after duly considering the opinions coming up from all quarters.

Those who engage in campaigns against personal liberty and the spirit of humanism should cease to do so, on social media and otherwise. The entire society should exercise vigil in this regard.


SIGN UP FOR COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER


 

Tags:

Comments are closed.