Mumbai police order valid on spreading fake news: Maharashtra government

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="900"]Mumbai police Mumbai police[/caption]

Justifying a Mumbai Police order for spreading fake news on social media, the Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that reasonable restrictions can be imposed to maintain public order.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice Amjad Saeed was hearing two PILs challenging the validity of an order issued by the Deputy Commissioner of Police on 23 May. The order said that action will be taken against anyone who spreads false and fake information on social media. It said that the admin of the group would be held personally responsible for spreading fake or false messages on social media groups.

According to a petition filed by advocate Seshanath Mishra and Geeta Seshu, the co-founder of the NGO named Free Speech Collective, this Violates rights of the citizen of India under Article 19 (1) (a) (Right to freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution of India.

Appearing on behalf of the government, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbakoni argued that the order is completely legal in view of Article 19 (2) of the Constitution, which empowers the government to impose reasonable restrictions on freedom of expression in the interest of public order. The court said that the subject needs to be looked into and reading the order shows that it is only effective till June 8, 2020. The court directed the government to file an affidavit in three weeks.