Despite the veneer of progressivism created for him by Lutyens’ Delhi’s left-liberal cabal, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has been unable to handle the troubling questions raised by ordinary citizens against his 4-year-long (mis)rule.
Vijayan has overseen murderous violence against Hindu activists and political opponents, further emboldening of quasi-terror Islamist outfits like PFI, corruption scams galore, gold and drug smuggling rackets where government ministers (including the CM Office) and top CPM leaders stand implicated, SFI goons running amok in college campuses, a brutal police crackdown on peaceful Sabarimala devotees and much more.
So now, following in the footsteps of Communist dictatorships worldwide, the CPM-led LDF govt. in Kerala has introduced a draconian new ordinance amending the Kerala Police Act to incorporate a new Section, 118 (A), that provides for a 3-year jail term or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both for any social media or cyber post that is deemed ‘humiliating, threatening, abusing or defaming’ to a person or class of persons.
Section 118(A) reads:
“whoever makes, expresses, publishes or disseminates through any kind of 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 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 fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.”
As per the amendment, police can slap criminal charges on citizens by interpreting any kind of communication through any medium as defamatory. It finds even “injury to the mind” a reason for slapping criminal charges not just on the petition of the victim, but also anyone “in whom they have interest” or as a suo motu act by a police official. The offence has been made cognisable so people can be arrested without warrant.
The CM has claimed the new law was intended to curb ‘growing abuse’ on social media targeting individuals, especially women. But it is widely feared that the ordinance could have a chilling effect on free speech by giving more power to the Kerala police, already under the scanner for Marxization and infiltration by Communist elements and for allegedly obstructing central investigating agencies, to curb political dissent.
The ordinance seems to be an attempt to slyly re-introduce section 118 (D) of the Kerala Police Act that was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, along with Section 66 (A) of the IT Act introduced by UPA-2), in 2015.
Section 118(D) had read:
“Any person who causes annoyance to any person in an indecent manner by statements or verbal or comments or telephone calls or calls of any type or by chasing or sending messages or mails by any means; shall, on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees or with both.”
The Left government and its party propaganda units have been openly bullying and harassing reporters who deviate ever so slightly from the script the government wants them to follow. The CM himself had lashed out and accused sections of media of ‘trying to unseat him through biased coverage’, when he was asked some pointed questions on the Swapna Suresh gold smuggling saga during a news briefing. This despite the fact that almost all TV news channels in Kerala, except for Janam TV, are usually friendly to the Communists. So critics believe that the new law is aimed at silencing the voice of the common man on social media.
This ordinance by the LDF government follows a pattern where so-called ‘liberal, progressive’ governments in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, and before them UPA-2, have all been cracking down on freedom of press and arresting/assaulting ordinary citizens for critical or mocking comments on social media. In many cases, FIRs lodged or laws passed by these ‘progressive’ governments had to be struck down by Supreme Court to uphold Constitutional freedoms.
But if one were to believe Lutyens’ media and their Western counterparts, it is the Modi Government at centre and BJP CMs like Yogi Adityanath who are the ‘fascists threatening civil liberties and reducing the space for dissent’!
And in all these developments, the Lutyens’ media bodies like Editor’s Guild, News Broadcaster Association etc. have been found crawling when asked to bend by their pseudo-secular political paymasters.
In news just in, facing massive opposition from all quarters the Kerala CM has announced that the amendment introducing Section 118(A) will be ‘on hold’ until a more detailed discussion is held in the state assembly. But until the ordinance is formally withdrawn, some observers argue that the CM’s latest announcement has little legal sanctity.
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