Delhi Police register FIR on complaint by Election Commission against fake news on voting
Acting on a complaint by the Election Commission of India, the Delhi Police on Friday registered a first information report (FIR) against the circulation of “fake” news that non-resident Indians (NRIs) would be able to vote online in the upcoming general elections.
The charges have been filed under IPC sections 505 (making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report), 463 (making false document to cause damage) and 471 (using a forged document as genuine). Police have also invoked State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act. The investigators, however, are yet to identify the originators of the news, which was allegedly circulated on WhatsApp and Twitter.
The police action comes less than three weeks after the Delhi Police arrested a 21-year-old man from Jharkhand for allegedly putting up fake dates of the elections on his website.
The latest FIR was filed at New Delhi’s Parliament Street police station on the basis of ECI’s complaint, which said that its logo was being misused to spread the fake news about polling on social media platforms.
One such image bearing the ECI’s logo and the name of its website read: “Hello All, Those who hold Indian passport can now vote online for 2019 elections. Please register yourself on https://eci.gov.in. There is a link Enroll as NRI voter. Please spread the word in your different groups (sic).”
In its complaint, the ECI said that the “publication of such fake news is causing severe confusion to the public thereby creating public nuisance and mischief”. The act seems to be done “with a deliberate intent to cause mischief and mislead the public”, the complaint said.
Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi), said,“We received the complaint Friday and registered an FIR. We have included all those penal sections which the Election Commission requested .”