The Delhi chief minister must withdraw circular allowing criminal defamation

ND Pancholi, President, People Union for Civil Liberties (Delhi) has stongly condemned the Delhi Government's recent order to sue its citizens for defamation. Following is the text of the statement: PUCL (Delhi) is shocked to learn that Govt. of Delhi has approved a policy to initiate prosecution of the citizens under section 499/500 of the Indian Penal Code for making defamatory imputations against the Chief Minister, Ministers and various government officials. The Delhi government has issued a circular dated May 6, 2015 in this connection.
It is a very reprehensible step by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which has been voted to power with an overwhelming majority by the citizens of Delhi as it had claimed and promised that it would be accountable to the people and its functioning would be transparent.
Such an order can be passed only in an authoritarian or a fascist state. Purpose of such an order seems to be to threaten and deter citizens from expressing any dissent or criticism of the functioning of the Chief Minister, Minister and other officials.
Delhi citizens are not going to tolerate such an order which is a flagrant attack on their fundamental right I.e. ‘freedom of expression’. As far back as in 1956 the Supreme Court in this connection had said,
“Those who fill a public position must not be too thin skinned in reference to comments made upon them. Whoever fills a public position renders himself open to attack. He must accept an attack as a necessary, though unpleasant, appendage to his office.” (1956 SCR 476, Kartar Singh)We therefore call upon the Chief Minister of the Delhi government to respect the democratic spirit of the Indian Constitution and immediately withdraw such derogatory order.



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