Won’t Implement Amended Kerala Police Act Now: CM Vijayan Post Row
The CM further said that a decision on the law would be taken after consultation with MLAs in the Assembly.
Under fire for the amendment to the Kerala Police Act, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, 23 November, said that taking into account all the criticism, the state has decided not to implement Section-118A now. He further said that a decision on the law would be taken after consultation with MLAs in the Assembly.
On Sunday, The News Minute reported that Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had signed the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance, an attempt by the Left government in the state to prevent cyber attacks against women and children. The Opposition had alleged that this would curtail freedom of expression.
A Raj Bhavan source told news agency PTI that Governor Khan signed the ordinance, which had triggered a widespread row in the southern state.
“With the announcement of the amendment, different views arose from different quarters. Concerns were expressed by those who supported LDF as well as those who stood for protection of democracy,” CM Vijayan said on Monday.
Earlier on Monday, ANI reported that Kerala BJP President K Surendran, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) leaders NK Premachandran, Shibu Baby John, and AA Azeez on Monday, 23 November, submitted petitions in Kerala High Court challenging Section 118A of Kerala Police Act.
In October, the state Cabinet had taken a decision to give more strength to the Police Act by recommending that Section 118-A be added. This replaced the defunct Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, under which posting ‘offensive’ comments online was a punishable crime, The News Minute reported.
Opposition parties have alleged that the amendment would give more power to the police, while curbing the freedom of the press. However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected this charge, saying that the call had been taken based on factors such as abuse of social media to harm the image of individuals.
Experts have disagreed with the state’s action move and cautioned against it.
(With inputs from The News Minute, PTI and ANI.)
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