Internet body protests Indore District Magistrate’s ban on Demonetisation posts

Indore, Nov 23: The Internet Freedom Foundation, a group of volunteers who advocate for a free and open internet, has sent a legal notice to the Indore district magistrate over his order banning criticism of the currency demonetisation on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and so on in the Indore jurisdiction.
Last Monday, Indore district magistrate P Narahari had issued a ban on objectionable and inflammatory posts on social media and mobile messenger applications about the recent withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, by invoking Section 144 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code which enables the authorities to pass an order where the circumstances do not admit of the serving in due time of a notice upon the person against whom the order is directed, be passed ex parte.
The DM had done this since he held that the messages on Facebook and WhatsApp pose a threat to the law and order situation.
The order read: “Objectionable and inflammatory posts or images regarding legal process of exchange of old currency on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media are banned. Commenting on such posts is also banned.”
Criticising the ban, the Internet Freedom Foundation said, “The district collectors order is an overreach of the Criminal Procedure Code, and we are very concerned about the implications it has on Indians fundamental rights and freedom of expression.
“We also pointed out that the use of the CrPC is an unwarranted response to rumour-mongering, and that we are concerned about the legality and the scope of the power invoked, and the impact it has on Fundamental Rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Although rumours may cause annoyance, they arent illegal. The CrPC is only applicable when criminal intent is evident.”