The Kerala High Court on Wednesday recorded the submission made by the Additional Advocate General of Kerala that the Cabinet has decided to issue a fresh ordinance to withdraw the controversial Section118A amendment to the Kerala Police Act. Additional Advocate General K.K Ravindranath informed the court when the bench comprising of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly considered a batch of petitions which challenged the ordinance as unconstitutional and ambiguous in its terms.
When the matter was addressed, the Additional Advocate General reasoned that the Governor was well within his right to withdraw the promulgated ordinance as per article 213 (2) (b) of the constitution.
Advocate Santosh Mathew, Counsel for one batch of petitioners, averred that the ordinance could only be repealed only after due compliance with article 213 (2) which obliged that: The ordinance be placed for discussion before the legislative assembly and a resolution be passed, and then, the Governor could withdraw an ordinance. Furthermore, he asserted that these conditions operated cumulatively and the Governor could not withdraw the ordinance without placing it before the legislative assembly first.
The bench responded that they presume the Government will follow the procedure.
Section 118 A criminalizes the communication of abusive, defamatory, and intimidating speech. It makes any expression, publication, or dissemination of threatening, abusive, defamatory, or humiliating content made through any mode of communication punishable if the person does it knowing it to be false and damaging to the reputation or mind of another person. It is punishable with imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine of Rs. 10,000 or both.
The Additional Advocate General also emphasized that there will be no adverse action, registration of FIR, or suo moto cognizance on the basis of Section 118A till further orders.