New Delhi: Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday said the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance will be "reconsidered".
His statement comes after a political storm broke out on Sunday over the controversial amendment to the Police Act.
The Kerala Cabinet, last month, had decided to give more teeth to the Police Act by recommending addition of Section 118-A. It stipulates either imprisonment for 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 through social media.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front government defended the move, saying that it is intended to reduce cyber crimes against women.
"The ordinance will be reconsidered," Yechury told PTI.
When asked if "reconsidered" could mean toning down the ordinance, he indicated that it means the ordinance will be scrapped.
The LDF government is likely to let the ordinance lapse, both CPI(M) and CPI sources said.
The announcement of the ordinance had put both the Left parties in a quandary as it was against the very principles that they stood for, the sources said.
The central leadership of the CPI(M), reportedly at odds with the decision, has been exerting pressure on the state leadership to let the ordinance lapse.
CPI general secretary D Raja said that he was uncomfortable with the ordinance and the party had expressed its opinion on it to the state leadership.
"We have asked our state units to reconsider the ordinance. We have spoken to the CPI(M) leadership and we both concur that the ordinance cannot go forward," Raja told PTI.
Meanwhile, in Thiruvananthapuram, the Kerala government on Monday said it would take all
necessary steps to ensure that the law brought with "good intention" to check cyber bullying was not misused.
Amid concerns that the amended law was an assault on freedom of speech and media, the BJP said it would approach the Kerala High Court against the implementation of the new provision that provides for imprisonment up to five years to
those making defamatory social media posts.
The Congress, which has dubbed the amendment as a tacit move to silence critics and media, staged a protest march.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday signed the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance brought by the CPI-M led Left front government envisaging addition of Section 118-A to prevent cyberattacks against women and children.
State Law Minister A K Balan on Monday assured there was no need for any concern regarding the new amendment and said it was made in accordance with the changing times.
The provision was brought in with the good intention to check cyberbullying, especially against women, and not aimed at curtailing the freedom of the Press, he said.
"The government will take all necessary precautions to ensure that the act is not misused. It will be implemented only after addressing all concerns in this regard," he said in Palakkad.