NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu police is learnt to have so far registered more than 50 cases against those who have posted information related to Jayalalithaa’s health on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp and eight persons have been arrested. The AIADMK leader is undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital in Chennai.
Reacting to this development, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chief and former Chief Justice of India HL Dattu has questioned the Tamil Nadu police’s move to arrest people for allegedly spreading rumours about CM’s health.
Dattu said that people have freedom to ask whatever they want to, as it is their fundamental right. “People have the freedom to express. Supreme Court has accepted that freedom of expression is the fundamental right of the people.In a very recent decision, the SC has upheld this”. Dattu agreed that the state police had been over zealous in registering cases and arresting peo ple talking about Jayalalithaa’s health.
He added, “Even if the punishment comes under section 505 (referring to section 505 (1) and 505 (1,b) of the Indian Penal Code which deals with publishing or circulating any statements, rumours or reports which are likely to cause fear or alarm to the public) …arrests may not be the answer”. Dattu said that “there are other avenues to check this rumour mongering” instead of arrests.