Dissent, not sedition, citizens cannot be tried for anti-government opinions: Supreme Court India News
A bench of judges Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta dismissed a PIL that sought to prosecute former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for the crime of sedition for expressing opinions against the Center’s decision to remove the special status granted to the former state under Article 370.
“Dissent cannot be described as sedition,” said the bench. “It cannot be said that the expression of a dissident point of view of a decision taken by the central government itself is seditious.”
When the petitioner pleaded with the court to pass an order disqualifying Abdullah from Parliament for making “anti-national and seditious” statements against the country in opposing the removal of Article 370, the court was enraged and said criminal action should be taken against him. petitioner for filing a frivolous petition.
On behalf of the petitioner, lawyer Shiv Sagar Tiwari argued that Abdullah made serious mistakes in making statements against the country by saying that Article 370 that was approved by Parliament and that he should be punished for sedition will be restored to him. He also alleged that the politician also made a statement in which he had said that help from China should be taken to restore Article 370.
“Farooq Abdullah’s statement is anti-national and seditious. If such acts are not controlled by the government, then other people like the ‘tukde tukde’ gang who have anti-national thoughts will provoke anti-national activities, destroying the peace of the country, “the petition says.
The court asked the petitioner to present Abdullah’s alleged statement, but the petitioner did not, and instead pointed to a statement by a BJP spokesperson quoting Abdullah.
“Where is that statement? You have even mentioned in your petition the clarification given in your statement that it was misrepresented. Do you know that the issue (about the scrapping of Article 370) is pending in this court? We must sanction people for filing publicity requests, “the court said. Subsequently, the court imposed a fine of fifty thousand rupees and asked the petitioner to deposit the amount in the lawyers’ social assistance fund.
“There is nothing in the statement that seems so offensive to us as to give a cause of action for a court to initiate a process. Not only that, the petitioners have nothing to do with the issue and this is clearly a case of litigation of publicity interest. so that petitioners only get their names in the press. We must discourage such efforts, “the court said.
The court’s order on dissent that does not amount to sedition acquires significance in light of allegations of misuse of the strict provision. Section 124A of the IPC, which speaks of sedition, has been frequently invoked in recent times by the police against individuals and activists, including Disha Ravi and actress Kangana Ranaut, for expressing their opinion or making statements on social media sites against government.