Tamil Nadu

Set up special cells to tackle social media abusers: HC

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Representational image  

The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to create special cells in every police station in the State to crack down on those who post derogatory and unsubstantiated allegations on the social media against constitutional functionaries as well as those who hold high posts in the Central as well as State governments.

Justice M. Dhandapani ordered the special cells to be established within two months and police personnel deputed in them to be imparted necessary knowledge to track down and nab people who take to the social media to hound judges, ministers and government officials.

A further direction was also issued to the DGP to constitute the special cells and report compliance by March 30.

The orders were passed while granting bail to A. Maruthachalam, 59, a resident of Coimbatore, who was arrested on November 20 for posting a video containing defamatory allegations against a sitting judge of the Madras High Court and a lawyer.

The judge granted him bail after the petitioner tendered an unconditional apology and an assurance to not repeat such activities. He was also ordered to comply with the usual conditions imposed while granting bail to the accused.

At the same breath, expressing concern over the growing trend of derogatory messages and baseless allegations against people holding high posts, the judge said: “Right to a dignified life is guaranteed under the Constitution and the same cannot be allowed to be breached for the pleasure of certain unscrupulous elements.”

‘Nip them in the bud’

He went on to state: “These types of cheap publicity and scandalous acts should be nipped in the bud failing which it will start mushrooming and rise to gigantic proportions. Therefore, it is high time that the judicial power be wielded in order to curb the social menace and to maintain decorum and harmony in the society.”

The observations were made and the directions were issued after being dissatisfied with a report filed by the Superintendent of Police, Cyber Cell, Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID).

The report did not contain any concrete details regarding a plan to put in place an effective mechanism to tackle social media canards, the judge said.

“Unless the menace is curbed with iron hands, it will creep, spread its tentacles far and wide and eat away not only the healthy and peaceful life of the individuals but also put in jeopardy the whole nation and persons manning the helm of affairs of the society would be left to the mercy of these individuals,” the judge added.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 3:59:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/set-up-special-cells-to-tackle-social-media-abusers-hc/article30696656.ece

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