Police Act amendment ordinance in limbo, Kerala High Court says no action can be taken using this law

New Delhi (ILNS): The decision of the Kerala government yesterday to withdraw the Police Act amendment ordinance has left some interesting legal issues unresolved. The ordinance was withdrawn in the face of severe criticism and apprehension that the vaguely-worded ordinance was making it a draconian legal document which can easily be misused.

The Kerala High Court today send out a directive that no 'adverse action' should be taken invoking Section 118-A of the Kerala Police Act till such time that the State takes a decision.

The court sent this directive after the state’s lawyer informed the Court that the government was reconsidering the matter and an official communication would be available with the court tomorrow. The court also decided to hear the matter, again, tomorrow.

The court’s interim order – passed by the bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly – bans any registration of cases, suo motu or through FIRs, which invoked the controversial Section 118-A (amendment) introduced through the ordinance.

Technically, while the ordinance was hurriedly withdrawn, it has already been signed into law through the signature of Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. The law can be revoked through another signed ordinance by the Governor. Till such time, the law exists and is technically executable.

The ordinance had criminalised any objectionable content which maybe be deemed derogatory or defamatory in nature and targeting women and children. There was a fine, as well as jail term proposed in the ordinance.

The Assembly is expected to look into this again.

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