CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday hailed the Kerala governmentâ€™s decision to put on hold the controversial amendment in the Police Act that sought to give more teeth to the police to crack down on abusive social media posts. Yechury said this showed that the party is a vibrant and democratic entity, which is responsive to the issues raised by people.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a statement on Monday, said the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance has been put in abeyance. He said a detailed discussion will be held on it in the Assembly after which the next course of action will be decided, duly considering the opinions from all quarters.
"This is an issue on which there has been genuine widespread criticism and as a party, we have taken that into account. The statement from the Kerala Chief Minister that the ordinance will not be implemented shows that we are a vibrant, democratic party which is open to suggestions. This is the reason why the LDF will be re-elected in the state,â€ť said Yechury.
He added that the party had opposed Section 66A of the IT Act and that was why, in line with this, he earlier announced that the ordinance will be reconsidered. â€śAfter this, the procedure for the ordinance to be withdrawn is something that the Kerala government has to answer," Yechury said.
The state cabinet had decided last month to give more teeth to the Kerala Police Act by recommending the addition of Section 118A. It stipulates a jail term of three years or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or both for those who produce, publish or disseminate content through any means of communication with an intent to intimidate, insult or defame any person through social media.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government defended the move, saying it was intended to reduce cyber crimes against women. Earlier, talking to PTI, Yechury had clearly indicated that the central leadership of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has given clear instructions to its Kerala unit to scrap the ordinance.
The central leadership of the CPI(M), at odds with the decision, has been exerting pressure on the state leadership to let the ordinance lapse. CPI general secretary D Raja said he was uncomfortable with the ordinance and the party had expressed its opinion on it to the state leadership. "We had told our state unit that the ordinance cannot go forward. The CM's announcement has made it very clear. Now the future course of action will be decided by the state government," he said.