Amid public pressure, Kerala govt puts ordinance punishing “abusive” posts on hold

Amid mounting public pressure, the Kerala government Monday said it would not, for the time being, implement the controversial Ordinance that seeks to make the expression, publication or dissemination through any kind of communication anything that is threatening, abusive, humiliating or defamatory, an offence punishable with imprisonment of upto 3 years.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan added that the issue would be discussed in the State assembly before any further action.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan yesterday cleared the controversial Ordinance amending the Kerala Police Act to insert a new Section 118A which provides-

“Whoever makes, expresses, publishes or disseminates through any kind of mode of communication, any matter or subject for threatening, abusing humiliating or defaming a person or class of persons, knowing it to be false and that causes injury to the mind, reputation or property of such person or class of persons or any other person in whom they interest shall on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 or with both,”

Opposition parties had alleged that the amendment would give more power to the police and curtail freedom of the press.

Also Read: Kerala Governor signs off on ordinance making dissemination of abusive, defamatory content punishable with 3 years in prison

Former Finance Minister and senior advocate P Chidambaram took to Twitter to express his shock at the making a so-called ‘offensive’ post on social media punishable with prison.

Meanwhile, Kerala BJP President K Surendran and United Democratic Front (UDF) politicians Shibu Baby John, NK Premachandran and AA Azeez moved the Kerala High Court challenging the Ordinance.

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