TAMIL NADU

Sedition charge slapped against Tamil weekly

In an unprecedented move, the Government has invoked sedition charges against a Tamil news weekly 'Namadhu Manasatchi' for allegedly publishing a false and seditious report on public healthcare.

On the basis of a complaint given by the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare, the Grand Bazaar Police Station, Puducherry, has registered a criminal case against "Namadhu Manasatchi", under Section 124-A of Indian Penal Code (IPC), which is invoked against “whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law.”

According to a press statement, the complaint was filed following the publication of a “false, misleading and irresponsible news item” captioned "Kalavathi" (Expiry) in the weekly’s October, 28-November 3, 2015 edition alleging that expired medicines are supplied to the patients in Government Hospitals of Puducherry.

In support thereof, it also published a photograph of a prescription slip dated October 19 issued by the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital & Post Graduate Institute, Puducherry and a medicine bottle which had expiry date till August 2016, as the medicine given to the patient.

The Government stated that it became evident from this that no expired medicines has been given to the patients (as the expiry date of the medicine printed in the magazine is upto August, 2016).

The present action by the Health Department has been necessitated as the above news item has created panic and fear in the minds of the general public, damaged the image of the medical profession, tarnished the image of the medical service to the public by the Government and created a sense of ill-feeling and enmity between the medical profession and the public.

A separate complaint has also been filed with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Puducherry (North) for initiating action under Section 108 Cr.P.C. (security for keeping peace and good behaviour).

Police sources would not confirm whether any arrests were made.



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