This is an excerpt from edition 25 of MisDisMal-Information (Of regulating information and disorder)–
For the complete edition, go here.
There was a lot of concern over the weekend as Kerala’s Governor gave his assent to an ordinance to amend the Kerala Police Act ostensibly in response to rising information disorder and defamatory attacks on women and children. But it appears, for now, that is legislation has been put on hold.
With the announcement of the amendment, different views arose from different quarters. Concerns were expressed by those who supported LDF & those who stood for protection of democracy. In this situation, it’s not intended to amend the law: Kerala CM on Kerala Police Act Amendment https://t.co/fTM28nYEJm
If you’ve been following developments around the world and in India over the last few months, though, you know that this is likely only a temporary reprieve. Back in October, IFF had noted its similarities to the infamous section 66A which was struck down. In TheNewsMinute, Sanyukta Dharmadhikari compares 118A with 66A using a side-by-side comparison shared by Anivar Aravind.
And even with the developments on Monday, IFF is right to advise caution.
While we welcome today’s statements on first the provision not being enforced & second proposals for a standard operating procedure — at present, both are extra-legal statements. Put simply they do not vary the vague powers for prosecution that exist due to Section 118A. 2/3
Such assurances were also made by the Law Officers defending Section 66A but were rejected by the Supreme Court in the Shreya Singhal case. What is needed is a clear commitment to introduce a fresh Ordinance for repeal of Section 118A. Then proceed for public consultations. 3/3
The bullet may have been dodged, but the incoming train is still chugging along.