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Kerala Police Law Amendment Controversy Bursts – All You Need to Know | India News


NEW DELHI: The controversy erupted one day after the Governor of Kerala signed the Kerala Police Law amendment ordinance envisaged by the left-wing government in the state to prevent cyber attacks against women and children which, according to the opposition, they would restrict freedom of expression.
On Saturday, the Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammed Khan, signed the ordinance amending the Kerala Police Law.
What is the Kerala Police Law Amendment Ordinance?
The state cabinet, last month, had decided to strengthen the Police Act by recommending the addition of Section 118-A.
It stipulates a prison term of up to five years or a fine of up to 10,000 rupees or both for those who produce, publish or disseminate content through any means of communication with the intention of intimidating, insulting or defame any person through the networks social.
The amendment was introduced in the wake of the rise in the crime graph, false propaganda, and hate speech on social media since the Covid-19 outbreak. The LDF government had said that since cyberattacks are a great threat to privacy, it was decided to amend the Police Law as the existing legal provisions were inadequate to combat such crimes.
He said that while the Supreme Court had struck down section 66-A of the Information Technology Act and section 118 (d) of the Kerala Police Act as being against freedom of expression, the Center it has not introduced any other legal framework.
The amended law generated controversy shortly after Khan signed it. The opposition claimed that it would give more power to the police and could be an instrument to suppress press freedom.
However, the state government rejected the opposition’s claim, saying that the decision had been made based on factors such as abuse of social media to tarnish people’s image.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that in no way will it be used against free speech or impartial journalism and that apprehensions to the contrary are unfounded.
“The State Government was receiving repeated complaints against the widespread misuse of social networks, especially by certain online channels. Even prominent public and cultural personalities had presented such complaints. They have brought to the attention of the Government instances where cyber attacks took place inhuman and vile carried out by some under the guise of journalism and how it even damaged the family life of many. It has often turned into targeted attacks using falsehoods and even sordid content. Many families are bearing the consequences of such attacks, “he said Kerala CM.
Kerala Police Director General (DGP) Lokanath Behera assured that a special Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be prepared before taking action on the amendment to the Kerala Police Law.
“A special standard operating procedure will be prepared before taking action on the Kerala Police Law amendment. The SOP will be prepared in consultation with legal experts. This is to ensure that the ordinance is not misused in any way,” he said Kerala DGP in a statement.
BJP State President K Surendran said the amended law is an attempt to curb the people’s freedom of expression and alleged that there was an “undeclared state of emergency” in the state.
“When the Supreme Court ruled against such a law in 2015, Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan praised it and turned it into a political campaign. Pinarayi himself is trying to control social media and mainstream media through this draconian act, “he said.
Congressional Leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram expressed dismay at the signing of the Kerala Police Law amendment ordinance, which the congressional-led opposition says aims to muzzle the media.
“Shocked by the law enacted by the Kerala Democratic Left Front (LDF) government that makes a supposedly ‘offensive’ post on social media punishable by 5 years in prison,” Chidambaram tweeted.
The BJP Kerala leadership claimed that it is a covert move to thwart even the political opposition.
“It is an attempt to curb the growing public sentiment against the state government. The government, which is already abusing the police, is using the police as a tool of repression. Pinarayi was persuaded to bring 118 (A) in protest against the government were bothering the government. The new law is a sham to prevent violence against women, “Surendran said.
(With inputs from agencies)

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