The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) on Tuesday, sent a legal notice to the Indore District Collector and asked him to withdraw the recent order that banned the “misleading and objectionable” posts on social networking sites regarding demonetisation. IFF’s official website states that they had asked the district collector to withdraw the order and post the withdrawal copy on the internet.
The IFF website also stated that they had made suggestions regarding the spreading of rumours around the matter and said that the District Collector could use social media platforms to dispel rumours. The IFF cited the example of the Bengaluru Police during the protests over the Cauvery water row in September-October. The IFF says that the District Collector’s order was an ‘overreach’ of the Criminal Procedure Code and raised concerns about the Indians’ fundamental rights and freedom of expression.
The IFF cites the examples of the misuse of Section 144 of the CrPc when the internet was shut down in Gujarat to “prevent students from cheating” in examinations. IFF’s official website says that the use of Section 144 by the district Collector was another example of ‘pre-board’ censorship and was heavily disproportionate. The IFF pointed out that the use of the CrPC was an unnecessary response to rumour-mongering. The IFF remained concerned about the legality of the order in the circumstance. It stated that although rumours might cause annoyance, they were not illegal, and the CrPc was only applicable in cases of evident criminal cases.