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Chennai: The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court has questioned the petitioner AIADMK executive as to what is wrong with the fact-checking committee set up by the Tamil Nadu government to detect false news.
The Government of Tamil Nadu has set up a ‘Truth Verification Committee’ under the Special Program Implementation Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu to detect false and false news about the Government of Tamil Nadu, Ministries and Departments on all media platforms. The Tamil Nadu government has appointed Iyan Karthikeyan as the project director of this group. His monthly salary has been fixed at Rs.3 lakh.
In this case, CT Nirmalkumar, joint secretary of AIADMK technical wing, filed a case in the Madras High Court against the order issued by the fact-checking committee.
The case came up for hearing yesterday in a bench comprising Chief Justice SV Gangaburwala and Justice D. Bharatha Chakraborty.
Power to Central Government: Senior advocate Vijay Narayan and advocate IS Inpadurai appearing for the petitioner said, “The central government has the authority to set up the fact-checking committee. The state government does not. In this regard, the central government has framed the rules in the year 2021 itself. Currently, this committee set up by the Tamil Nadu government is against IT rules.
There is no transparency in the appointment of the project director of this group. The action of the government is against the freedom of speech and expression of the public. “The fact-checking committee will become a dangerous weapon in the hands of the government,” they argued.
The judges then intervened and said, “Can’t the state government take such steps to prevent the spread of false news and rumours? Is this also a verification method? What is wrong with this? “This committee has been set up to help the police,” they questioned.
Additional Chief Advocate J. Ravindran, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, said, “A criminal case has already been registered against the petitioner for spreading false news and that case is pending. Therefore, the petitioner has no right to file a public interest litigation in this regard.
PS Raman, another senior lawyer who appeared for the Tamil Nadu government, said, “There was tension among North Indians due to the spread of false news on social media that Bihar state workers were attacked in Tamil Nadu. This committee has been constituted under the leadership of a competent person to ensure that such situation does not recur. There is no mistake in this,” he said.
After that, the central government has also appointed such a fact-checking committee. The Bombay High Court has adjourned the judgment of the case against it till date. They have adjourned the hearing to Dec. 6 saying that they will investigate the case after knowing the outcome of that case.