Indore administration curbs speech on social media

India is in the throes of a disastrous public health emergency. At this time, it is important for the Government to not curb speech. Free speech helps the spread of vital information such as lacunae in government policy, and is instrumental in tackling the pandemic. In fact, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on April 30, 2021 noted the importance of not clamping down on speech. In this background, we came across an Order issued by Shri Manish Singh, the Collector for the district of Indore, Madhya Pradesh under Section 144(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The Order prohibits “comments made on Social Media platforms related to breaking of Corona transmission chain in an unrestrained manner” and threatens prosecution for non-compliance.  We have filed an application to the Collector seeking withdrawal of this overbroad Order given that it stifles freedom of speech over the internet.

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