Telangana government makes ‘harsh words’ cognisable offence, opposition claims its attempt to curb freedom of expression

The Telangana government has declared that crimes falling under sections 506 and 507 of the Indian Penal Code will now be treated as cognisable offences that can be registered without the permission of the Court. Section 506 is concerned with the criminal intimidation of a person while section 507 deals with criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication.

The spokesperson for the CMO stated, “It has been left to the discretion of the state whether or not to take permission of the court before arresting and prosecuting a person under the said sections. So, after careful examination, the state government has decided to declare the sections as cognisable without having to take the permission of the courts,” while confirming that K Chandrasekhar Rao has given his nod to the move.

Opposition parties believe the law will be used by the government to silence valid criticism of its policies and used as a political tool to intimidate the opposition. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Dasoju Sravan remarked that it was a blatant attempt at curbing the freedom of expression of citizens. He said, “There is nothing wrong in taking action if the posts or comments are personal, obscene and abusive. One can always file a defamation suit in such cases. But by seeking to arrest a person and prosecuting him without court permission on the pretext that he made offensive comments is nothing but infringing upon the fundamental rights of the person. G. Kishan Reddy, BJP leader in Assembly, said that the Chief Minister himself should be the first person to suffer the consequences of the changes in the law because he was the first person to use harsh language in public life.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) chairman Prof M Kodandaram remarked, “Using of harsh words is a subjective term. There is no specific explanation as to what a harsh word is. The government and the police can interpret the term in any manner. For example, if a person calls KCR a tyrant or a monarch, he may get offended and throw that person behind bars invoking these two sections.”

State governments in the past have regularly used the police and the law department to harass critics and opposition parties. Mamata Banerjee has a particularly infamous reputation. A professor at the Jadavpur University was arrested for sharing anti-Mamata cartoons on Facebook and criticizing the policies of the Trinamool government. The same government filed an FIR against Zee News for its coverage of the Dhulagar riots. In Uttar Pradesh, the Police once arrested a class 11 student for sharing an ‘objectionable image’ of Azam Khan on Facebook. People obviously remember the draconian section 66A which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015 that had become a tool at the hands of governments to harass its critics.

Given the history of the Indian Republic, where governments have displayed autocratic tendencies several times in the past in its treatment of critics, the most notable being the emergency under Indira Gandhi, it is natural that opposition parties and activists are deeply concerned by the changes made to the sections 506 and 507 by the Telangana government as they fear persecution by government authorities as an act of political vendetta. TJAC chairman M Kodandaram has stated that the TJAC would move the High Court over the issue.

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Here is why BJP lost elections, and of course, it was deliberate

What BJP supporters need to realise is this - no political party ever wants to lose and least of all, a party led by the two most politically aggressive politicians the country has ever seen.
Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram assembly election results

Latest updates and breaking news on counting day: EC declares 3 wins in Madhya Pradesh, all 3 go to BJP

Latest news and updates from 2018 assembly election results of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram.

Can the BJP satisfy its online supporters? If only it were Congress

BJP supporters online, also known as the ‘right wing’, are first to attack the party and write it off after electoral setbacks.

BJP’s real woes: Lessons from the electoral semi-finals

The prolonged silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah on election results was very telling. The results were clearly unexpected and possibly led to prolonged internal discussions on the future course of action.

India cannot turn into Islamic Nation, only Modi can understand gravity and do needful: Meghalaya HC

There should be uniform law for all Indian citizens, and anybody opposing the Indian laws and constitution cannot be considered as citizens of the country, Meghalaya High Court noted

Prashant Bhushan and left-liberal cabal was actively helping Vijay Mallya in UK court by attacking CBI special director Rakesh Asthana

Vijay Mallya's defence team was using Indian left-liberals' allegations agaist Rakesh Asthana in London court

Has PM Modi sounded the start of slog overs with the new RBI Governor’s appointment

Shaktikanta Das, who is currently a member of The Finance Commission and Former Finance Secretary (the one who presided over Demonetisation), has been appointed as the new RBI Governor by the Modi government
It is time for Congress and Gandhi Family mukt Bharat

Why Congress-mukt Bharat is still very much in progress

It is time BJP supporters understand the meaning of the term 'Congress-mukt Bharat'.

Mayawati extends support to Congress for Madhya Pradesh, may consider Rajasthan ‘to keep BJP out of power’

She said to defeat BJP in Rajasthan, too, BSP will extend support to Congress.

BJP may be weaker than it was in 2014, but Congress is not as strong as projected either

If Congress has not forgotten the 1996 elections, they would very well know they are on a sticky wicket here.

Latest articles

Connect with us

125,548FansLike
97,487FollowersFollow
6,058SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these