Kerala Guv signs ordinance repealing Police Act change

Kerala Governor signs ordinance repealing controversial amendment to Police Act

The CPI(M)-led Left government had on Tuesday said it would bring in an ordinance to withdraw the amendment

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. Credit: PTI Photo

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday signed the ordinance repealing the controversial amendment of the Kerala Police Act, which had triggered a political storm with concerns being raised over its possible misuse.

The CPI(M)-led Left government had on Tuesday said it would bring in an ordinance to withdraw the amendment. "The Governor has signed the ordinance, withdrawing the amendment," Raj Bhavan sources told PTI.

A special cabinet meeting on Tuesday had decided to recommend to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan to promulgate an ordinance to repeal Section 118-A. Khan had on Saturday signed the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance brought in by the Left front government, envisaging addition of Section 118-A to prevent cyber attacks against women and children.

A political outcry had erupted across the country over the amendment, providing for upto five years jail term to those making defamatory social media posts, with opposition parties and even Left sympathisers saying it was against the freedom ofspeech and media.

On Monday, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters in Delhi that it would be reconsidered, after which the LDF government decided to put it on hold, saying further action would be taken after discussions in the Assembly.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government decided to withdraw it as many have opined that the amendment would give too much authority to police and there were chances of the Act being misused.

Vijayan had said on Tuesday that the amendment would be withdrawn and a new law passed only after detailed discussions in the Assembly and duly considering the opinions from all quarters.