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India: Dangerous order by DM Indore banning any criticism on social media of #demonetisation

Free Software Movement of India (fsmi.in)

rs500

The District Magistrate of Indore has issued an order –
Order/2956/RADM/2016, Indore/Date 14/11/2016 under Section 144 –
banning any criticism on social media such as Twitter, Facebook,
WhatsApp, etc., on exchange of old currency that is “objectionable” or
can “cause incitement”. The order is attached here. This, in effect,
is a blanket ban on any criticism of the Government on its failure to
provide sufficient new notes for the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes
that it has demonetised. Clearly, having failed to remonetise the
economy and putting the common man to immense hardship, the government
now wants to clamp down on all criticism on its failures.

The use of Section 144 for censorship of social media also goes far
beyond what the Supreme Court has held in its various judgements. The
Supreme Court, in Madhu Limaye and Anr v. Ved Murti and Ors. ((1970) 3
SCC 746), held that the use of Section 144 is justified only for
prevention of public disturbance or violence, and urgency as the only
ground for using this section. The state and central governments have
been using Section 144 arbitrarily in shutting down the internet and
going far beyond what its powers are under Section 144. It has now
extended such powers, earlier used only for banning public assembly,
to now attacking peoples rights of Freedom of Speech, guaranteed under
the Section 19. It shows the desperation of the Central and the Madhya
Pradesh governments that having failed in the elementary task of
providing money to the people for conducting their day to day lives,
they are resorting to such draconian measures to stifle all legitimate
criticism.

The Free Software Movement of India demands that this Order of the
District Magistrate be immediately withdrawn and the Madhya Pradesh
government issue an apology to the people for this action.
Read the order

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Comment (1)

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    The issuance of the order banning any criticism is in violation of the fundemental right to express opinions. The orders are being issued to stop debate as more and more weakness of the policy are coming out and ordinary people are suffering due to demonetisation. Small and medium business are severely affected.

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