New Delhi: With Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan signing the Kerala Police Amendment Act, the police in the Left Front-ruled state will now have the right to prosecute and imprison individuals “for creating, expressing, publication or dissemination of any threatening, abusive, derogatory or defamatory material “through” any means of communication “.
The prison sentence for this offense can be extended to three years.
The decree, approved by the cabinet last week, introduces a new section, 118A, of the Kerala Police Law. According to state government officials, the new department is needed to tackle “crimes committed through social media”
The specific provision is as follows:
“118 A. Punishment for the creation, expression, publication or dissemination of any subject matter that is threatening, abusive, humiliating or defamatory. Ho Anyone who makes, expresses, publishes or disseminates through any means of communication, any subject or object of threat, abuse, humiliation or defamation of a person or class of persons, knowing that it is false and causing injury to the mind, reputation or property of such person or class of persons or any other person for whom they have an interest, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or by a fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or by both. “
In 2015, the Supreme Court in The Shreya Singhal case had repealed Section 66A of the Information Technology Law and Section 118D of the Kerala Police Law, finding that both provisions are vaguely vague and therefore violate the rights of free expression.
Section 118D of the Kerala Police Law made it an offense for any person to cause “harassment to any person in an indecent manner by making statements or verbal or comments or phone calls or calls of any kind or by chasing or sending messages or messages in any way.”
The Supreme Court found that the sections in question prohibited a number of acts if carried out by electronic means, but did not define terms such as “intimidation”, “threatening”, “hunting”, “persistent” actually used.
The new Kerala decree seems to suffer from the same inadequacy, as it is not clear what exactly would be a “threatening, abusive, humiliating or defamatory” issue. The police would be allowed to exercise their discretion and judges, too, in the absence of clarity in the statute, may go along with the police interpretation.
Rights activist Anoop Kumaran, who had previously been prosecuted under Section 118D for posting on Facebook and challenged the constitutionality of the provision, described the new Section 118A as even worse than the one repealed by the Supreme Court.
The Left Front government says the provision is necessary to prevent cyber attacks on women and children, but it is unclear why existing legislation covering threats or intimidation cannot be applied to the same acts committed by electronic means.
Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections on Friday, but will hold talks with the Turkish government. to tarnish the image of individuals.
Concerned about the growing crime graph, false propaganda and hate speech rhetoric on social media since the outbreak of COVID-19, the LDF government has stated that cyber attacks pose a significant threat to privacy. amended the police law as the existing legal provisions were insufficient to combat such crimes.
He stated that while the Supreme Court had repealed Article 66-A of the Information Technology Act and Section 118 (d) of the Kerala Police Law, arguing that it was contrary to freedom of expression, the Center has not introduced any other legal framework.
“In this scenario, the police are not in a position to deal effectively with the crimes committed through social media,” the government said.
(With PTI input)