Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government on Wednesday decided to amend the Police Act to counter cyber attacks on women and children and decided to recommend to the governor an addition of Section 118-A to the Act to ensure severe punishment for the culprits.
The cabinet recommended the addition of Section 118-A to the existing Police Act, providing an imprisonment of up to five years or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or both to those who produce, publish or disseminate content through any means of communication with an intention to intimidate, insult or defame any person.
"It's a matter of great concern that there is an increase in crime through social media. Some of the recent crimes committed using cyber platforms have caused great concern in our society. Cyber attacks are a major threat to private life. It has been decided to amend the Police Act as it is found that the existing legal provisions were inadequate to fight such crimes," a government release said.
It also said that the cabinet has decided to recommend to the governor to issue this amendment as an ordinance.
While hearing a case last May, the High Court had made a reference to the hate and slanderous propaganda being carried out on social media. The High Court had directed the chief secretary and the chief of police to take action to end this growing trend.
The government said there has been an increase in fake propaganda and hate speech on social media since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The Supreme Court had repealed Section 66-A of the IT Act 2000 and Section 118 (d) of the Kerala Police Act, 2011 on the grounds that it was against freedom of expression.
"The Central Government has not introduced any other legal framework to replace this. In this scenario, the police are unable to deal effectively with crimes committed through social media," the government said.
Under such circumstances, it became difficult for the police to deal effectively with crimes committed through social media. It is in view of all this that the state cabinet proposed the amendment.
(With PTI inputs)