Kerala puts Police Act 118A on hold

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) – In the wake of strong opposition from the media, civil society and the opposition, the Government has decided to backtrack from implementing the newly added section of the Kerala Police Act, 2011, that would muzzle all types of free speech and opinion through any medium.

“The amendment has invited opinions from various corners. All including those who are backing the Leftist Democratic Fund and those who are standing for democratic values expressed concern about the new amendment. Under these circumstances, the Government does not intend to implement the amendment”, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a statement. The CPM central leadership had also asked the Kerala Government to withdraw from implementing the amendment.

The State cabinet had decided to recommend to the Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan to promulgate an ordinance in this regard on 21st October, to which the Governor had given consent on 21st November.

The Kerala Police Act 2011, as 118A says – ‘Whoever makes, expresses, publishes or disseminates through any 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 a person or class of persons or any other person in whom they have interest, shall on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a fine which may extend to ten thousand Rupees or with both’.