Kerala puts on hold controversial Police Act Amendment Ordinance

Kerala puts on hold controversial Police Act Amendment Ordinance

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday announced, his government was putting on hold the controversial Kerala Police Amendment ordinance, which had triggered severe criticism of the state’s ruling CPI(M) government and allegations that it was a move aimed at “muzzling media.”

“We have been forced to bring an ordinance in view of serious cyber attacks against women and children. Many suicides and break up took place due to this. In view of concern expressed from various quarters, we have decided not to go ahead with it.” Vijayan said on Monday.

Disowning the ordinance, Sitaram Yechury, the general secretary of the CPI(M), which is in power in Kerala, remarked that it did not represent his party’s view. Amid mounting criticism of the ordinance, on Sunday Chief Minister Vijayan defended it while saying that the ordinance was guided by “growing abuse on social media targeting individuals and their personal freedom.”

In his statement he said, “The new amendment will no way be used against impartial journalism. Apprehensions to the contrary are unfounded. “Within the contours of our Constitution and legal framework, everybody has the right to make the strongest criticism. The new amendment will not hamper that freedom in any way,” the statement had noted further.

Under a proposed amendment signed by the Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, A police officer can suo-motu register a case against an accused and arrest him. Also, any person can file a complaint against the accused.

According to the 118 (A) Amendment to the Police Act 2011, under the  amendment “any person who creates or sends any information that is deemed to be “offensive” or is intended to “offend or threaten” another person through any means of communication is liable to face imprisonment of three years or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both.”