Friday, Sep 17, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Proposed amendment to Kerala Police Act evokes mixed response

Proposed amendment to Kerala Police Act evokes mixed response
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 22 (PTI) The Kerala government''s

decision to amend the Police Act to curb cyber attacks against

women and children, has evoked mixed response with many

welcoming it but a few cautioned that if not clearly drafted

the new law could have an adverse impact on the freedom of

expression.

The state cabinet had on Wednesday decided to give more

teeth to the Act by recommending addition of Section 118-A.

The provision stipulates either imprisonment up to five

years or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or both to those who

produce, publish or disseminate content through any means of

communication with an intention to intimidate, insult or

defame any person.

State Women''s Commission chief M C Josephine Thursday

welcomed the decision of the government to amend the Police

Act to prevent cyber attack against women and children and

said the new law will rein in the cyber bullies.

"We welcome the decision of the state government to amend

the law in order to take stringent action against those

engaged in cyber assault through social media," she said in a

statement.

Josephine said it''s the women community which faces the

most cyber attacks and these days the complaints are on a

rise.

The Supreme Court decision to repeal Section 66-A of the

IT Act 2000 and Section 118 (d) of the Kerala Police Act, 2011

on the grounds that it was against freedom of expression, has

resulted in rise in cases of cyber attack.

"But this amendment will rein in such cyber bullies," she

said.

Formerjudge of the Kerala High Court Justice B Kemal

Pasha said though he was not aware of the details of the

proposed amendments, he felt it was urgently required.

"I feel an amendment is urgently required as through

social media, such crimes are rising exponentially.

So an amendment with penaleffect is highly necessary to

the Police Act and IT Act as hooligans are using socialmedia

to abuse persons especially women and children or else people

will take law intotheir own hands," he told PTI.

However, Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj of the Supreme court

said the legal validity of the proposed law would depend on

its text.

Since there are existing provisions to deal with cyber

crimes against women, the government and the legislature

should be very careful in introducing new provisions of law,

which if not carefully drafted, can have an adverse impact on

the freedom of expression, especially that of the media, he

told PTI.

"I have doubt regarding its legal validity, which of

course would depend upon the text of the proposed law.

It will have to satisfy the principle laid down in Shreya

Shingal judgement of 2015", Kaleeswaram said.

It was in the Shreya Singhal case in which the apex court

struck down the Information Technology Acts Section 66A in

the interest of free speech, a fundamental right.

Though he does not feel that the present law was

inadequate, the lawyer said sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C and

354D of the IPC were strong provisions to deal with cyber

offences against women.

Asked if the proposed amendment covers mass media also,

he said whether it will curtail the freedom of expression

would depend upon the content of the proposed amendment.

"If the amendment has the tendency to picture any

criticism or difference of opinion as an offence, the same

will not stand the test of Shreya Shingal judgement" , he

said.

Because such an amendment can curtail freedom of

expression of the citizen, including that of the media and it

was due to this the old provision in the Kerala Police Act was

struck down by the apex court along with Section 66A of the

Information Technology Act, he pointed out.

In Shreya Shingal judgement, SC has said the penal

provisions cannot be overbroad since that may have the

tendency to trap the innocent.

Expressing concern at the increasing crime graph, fake

propaganda and hate speech on social media since the outbreak

of COVID-19, the government said since cyber attacks are a

major threat to private life, it has been decided to amend the

Police Act as it is found that the existing legal provisions

were inadequate to fight such crimes.

The Governor has been recommended to issue the amendment

as an ordinance.

The Supreme Court had repealed the Section 66-A of the IT

Act 2000 and Section 118 (d) of the Kerala Police Act, 2011 on

the grounds that it was against freedom of expression.

"The Central Government has not introduced any other

legal framework to replace this.

In this scenario, the police are unable to deal

effectively with crimes committed through social media," a

government press release said. PTI RRT UD

ROH ROH


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

More from Website

IIFL Home Finance Signs Pact With PNB For Co-Lending

IIFL Home Finance Signs Pact With PNB For Co-Lending

The financial services firm has had co-lending pacts with ICICI Bank, Central Bank of India and Standard Chartered Bank

PM's Birthday Gift: 1 Crore Vaccinations In A Day As Health Ministry Pushes For New Record

PM's Birthday Gift: 1 Crore Vaccinations In A Day As Health Ministry Pushes For New Record

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the country will all make a new record of COVID-19 vaccination, which will be a birthday gift to PM Narendra Modi.

Union Minister Narayan Rane Asked To File Separate Pleas For 6 FIRs Over 'Slap' CM Thackeray Comment

Union Minister Narayan Rane Asked To File Separate Pleas For 6 FIRs Over 'Slap' CM Thackeray Comment

Six FIRs were filed against Union Minister Narayan Rane for making controversial comments against Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.

More from Outlook Magazine

Crouching Tigers

Crouching Tigers

Ghee Bowman brings to light the forgotten story of an Indian force’s role in the Battle of France and their fighting withdrawal through Dunkirk. In this excerpt, individual units arrive in northern France and take their positions, awaiting the Wehrmacht onslaught.

Top 21 Private Medical Universities

Top 21 Private Medical Universities

Outlook's annual ranking of India’s top 21 Private Medical Universities in 2021 will help students make an informed choice.

Top 15 Government Medical Universities

Top 15 Government Medical Universities

Outlook's annual ranking of India’s top 15 Government Medical Universities in 2021 will help students make an informed choice.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement