Police on Monday asked people in Pune district of Maharashtra not to spread rumours or false information regarding coronavirus in the name of April Fool's Day jokes or pranks on social media. The Pune rural police have issued a notification in this regard.
The notification warned of penal action under section 188 of the IPC if a person is found circulating misinformation and rumours related to the deadly disease on social media platforms.
Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) prescribes punishment for disobeying any order duly promulgated by a public servant. The punishment includes imprisonment for a term which may extend up to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs 1,000, or both.
"On April 1, as a custom people, friends, relatives play harmless pranks with each other by spreading hoax among each other.
"However, in the current situation when a lockdown is in force to contain the spread of coronavirus, people should not spread any such information or messages or rumour regarding virus and lockdown on social media which can create confusion among people and may lead to violation of lockdown," stated Narayan Shirgaonkar, sub-divisional police officer, Pune rural police, in the notification.
He said people found spreading misinformation and hoaxes will be penalised under IPC section 188. "Even the administrators of messaging applications should caution the group members on the issue and change the settings to "admin only", the officer added.