After the Kerala government signed the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance, strong reactions have garnered from various quarters including former Union Minister P Chidambaram and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, expressing concern and shock over the move.
On Sunday, Chidambaram took to Twitter to express dismay on the move by the Kerala government. “Shocked by the law made by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government of Kerala making a so-called ‘offensive’ post on social media punishable by 5 years in prison,” Chidambaram tweeted.
SC lawyer Prashant Bhushan also tweeted that the signing of the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance, is draconian and is bound to be abused to silence dissent. He likened this move to the scrapping of Section 66A of the IT Act.
On Saturday, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan signed the controversial ordinance to add Section 118 (A) in the Kerala Police Act, which makes intimidation, defamation or insulting a person through social media as an offence punishable with five years in prison or a fine up to Rs 10,000. The ordinance was signed to crackdown on the rising attacks against women and children on social media.
The opposition parties in Kerala have said that the passing of this ordinance will be similar to restricting freedom of speech. However, according to ANI, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the new amendment to the Kerala Police Act will not in be used against free speech or impartial media activity.