Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Muhammad Khan has signed the Kerala Police Act amendment ordinance that aims to stop bullying, insulting, or disgracing individuals through any content and circulating the same through any communication medium.
The offenders will be awarded a sentence of five years or a penalty of Rs 10,000 or both.
Reaction of opposition
Reacting over the law, Senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said that he was “shocked” by the Kerala government’s move to issue an ordinance to ensure stringent punishment for those found guilty of offensive social media posts.
“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.
Meanwhile, BJP state President K Surendran said that the decision of the Pinarayi Vijayan government to add 118 (A) amendment in the Kerala Police Act is an attempt to curb the freedom of expression of the people.
Kerala CM tries to clarify
However, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that it will in no way be used against free speech or impartial journalism and apprehensions to the contrary are unfounded.
State Law Minister A.K. Balan while trying to diffuse the issue said, “At no cost will there be any gagging of the media and this is nothing but to put brakes on the abuse of people in the social media and the police can give bail immediately.”