Kerala Govt plans to tweak provisions in IPC act enabling control over media outlets

Anish Jacob

Representational Image | Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: In a controversial move, the Kerala government plans to tweak certain provisions of the Indian Penal Code Act that allows the state to have control over media outlets. For this, the law department in Kerala has prepared a bill to amend the Indian Penal Code Act. Earlier, the Kerala government backed away from a similar move to bring provisions after it was alleged that the move violated free speech and gave the government unwanted authority over media.

The new provision makes it punishable to create or publish content through any means of communication with the intention to threaten, insult or defame someone. For this, the IPC Section 292 will be amended and a new amendment will be introduced as Section 292A.

Two years ago, the state government tried to bring the same provision as Section 118A of the Police Act, saying it was for preventing cyber attacks. However, the government-backed away after it became clear that the provision could be used against media outlets.

The bill prepared by the law department is before the state cabinet. The department also advised that the bill would need President's assent since the provisions in the bill would be against the IPC and the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had struck down Section 66A of the 2000 IT Act and Section 118D of the Police Act, 2011, citing them as against freedom of expression. The government tried to amend the Police Act to overcome this verdict.

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