The Centre on Wednesday announced creation of a web portal where people can verify facts and unverified news promptly, and also advised the states and Union Territories (UTs) to create a similar mechanism.
States and the UTs were informed through a letter issued from the office of Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla earlier on Wednesday.
In the letter, the states and the UTs were asked to submit an action taken report to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) so it can be informed to the Supreme Court that took on the Centre in a hearing of a plea over the panic created by fake news leading to mass movement of migrant labourers, their plight and untold suffering following lockdown.
The Ministry has told the states and the UTs that the report will be submitted to the apex court on April 7, the next date of hearing.
The states were also told that the apex court however has expressed satisfaction with the proactive and timely actions taken by the Central government for preventing the spread of novel coronavirus or COVID-19, but had taken serious note of the panic created by fake news leading to mass movement of migrant labourers.
While referring to the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005 and lndian Penal Code, the Ministry said, the court observed that "we trust and expect that all concerned viz., state governments, public authorities and citizens of this country will faithfully comply with the directives, advisories and orders issued by Union of India in letter and spirit in the interest of public safety".
The apex court has also given observations and directions regarding provision of relief camps, shelters for the migrant labourers and the basic amenities such as food and medicines to be provided in line with MHA and National Disaster Management Act directives and other welfare activities to be taken by the state governments.
The court has also given directions on taking effective measures to check circulation of the fake news.
"In view of the directions made by the court, all the state governments and UT administrations are requested to take necessary action and also to comply with the directives, advisories and orders issued by the Central government for containment of spread of COVID-19 in the country."
The Supreme Court, while taking up a writ petition, had sought status report on the steps taken by Central government which had filed a detailed status report on March 31. --IANS