THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Just four days after it came into force, the controversial Kerala Police (Amendment) ordinance 2020 has been withdrawn. Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Wednesday signed the ordinance to repeal Section 118A amended to the Police Act. With that, the controversial amendment ceases to be in force. This is the first time an ordinance is withdrawn so quickly in the state’s history.
On Saturday, the Governor had signed the amendment ordinance which inserted Section 118A in the Police Act. The ordinance was aimed at giving the police more powers to prosecute persons who exploit various communication platforms to slander fellow citizens. However, the ordinance invited widespread criticism and concern with various sections of society pointing out that the amendment could be misused by police.
On Sunday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan clarified that the ordinance was not aimed at gagging the media. But the CPM central leadership insisted that the ordinance should not be enacted as it is against the Left’s declared stance. On Monday, the CM announced that the government is not planning to enforce the law in view of the widespread concern and apprehension. The very next day, the Cabinet decided to withdraw the ordinance and recommended its repeal to the Governor. On Wednesday, the Governor signed the Kerala Police (Amendment) Withdrawal ordinance 2020 which explained why it has been decided to drop the controversial sectionG inserted in the Police Act.