No coercive action under section 118A of the Kerala Police Act: State gov’t to HC

The Kerala HC recorded the submission of the Government that no adverse action shall be taken based on the new ordinance

Kerala HC

On Tuesday, the Kerala High Court started hearing a batch of petitions filed against the insertion of new section 118A in the Kerala Police Act. A bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly recorded the submissions made by Additional Advocate General of Kerala, KK Ravindranath.

The AAG, Kerala submitted before the Bench that there will be no adverse action, registration of FIR or suo moto cognisance based on this newly introduced controversial provision Section 118A of the Kerala Police Actreported LiveLaw.

The AAG, further apprised the court that the Kerala Government is taking steps to reconsider the ordinance and sought adjournment till day after tomorrow.

SabrangIndia reported on the widespread opposition the LDF government received on the implementation of section 118A to curb fake news and defamatory content on social media. After much thought, the Pinarayi Vijayan led Government decided to not go ahead with the enforcement and reconsider the section.

Section 118A of the Act provides either imprisonment for up to five years or a fine of up to Rs 10,000/- or both to those who produce, publish or disseminate content through any means of communication with an intention to intimidate, insult or defame any person through social media.

Four politicians, an activist, a law student, and a lawyer have moved the Kerala High Court for quashing the provision after the Governor gave his assent to the ordinance on November 21. The provision was challenged on grounds of vagueness and an attempt to curtail free speech in a democracy. It has been further argued that the section infringes the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India.

The Bench adjourned the hearing on the petitions till tomorrow (November 25) to await further developments in the issue.


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