Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 5, 2020
The Maharashtra state government has justified the Mumbai Police’s order that action would be taken against any person for spreading fake news on social media. This comes after two PILs, challenging the legality of the order, were filed in the court.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, for the Maharashtra government, pointed out that the order is “perfectly legal” in view of Article 19(2) of the Constitution. It authorises the government to impose reasonable restrictions upon freedom of speech and expression in the interest of public order.
However, Advocate Sheshanath Mishra, representing the petitioners, claimed that the police order muzzles the voice of common citizens and prevents them from criticising the government’s handling of the pandemic. He said the order violates the rights of citizens guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India (right to freedom of speech and expression).
The order, which was passed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), states that action would be taken against any person, who spreads incorrect, fake information on social media.
The court heard the state and the petitioners advocate, and said that the issue has to be examined. The bench directed the government to file an affidavit within three weeks.