SC: Criticizing govt is not sedition

Resting clamor over “the right use of sedition charges” the Supreme Court on Monday rejected the PIL filed by an NGO that demanded the apex court to direct police chiefs and officials to examine the reported sedition instances before registering a case so as to ensure that the law is not misused.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and UU Lalit said, “Someone making a statement to criticize the government does not invoke an offence under sedition or defamation law. We have made it clear that invoking of section 124(A) of IPC (sedition) requires certain guidelines to be followed as per the earlier judgement of the apex court.”

SC told that if a person (or party) is affected by the law (or against whom the sedition charge is booked) can move to the court for the same on its own. There is no need for any hearing via Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

Earlier, Advocate Prashant Bhushan’s NGO – Common Cause – file a PIL in Supreme Court on the misuse of sedition laws. “With rampant misuse of sedition law, we have filed PIL to ensure there’s incitement to violence for charging sedition,” he claimed. He also said that the sedition law is causing victimization of the students.

In response to the above claims, the bench said that, “we don’t have to explain the sedition law. It’s already there in the five-judge constitution bench judgement in Kedar Nath Singh versus state of Bihar of 1962.”

The NGO asserted that “Sedition laws are being misused” and asked for the consent of concerned DGP or commissioner before booking someone with the charges of sedition. The PIL was filed on 16th August by the NGO named ‘Common Cause’. Bhushan referred to the examples of sedition charges being booked on the protesters protesting against Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project and cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, among others.

However, SC has sent a clear message on Monday that a person cannot be booked on ‘Sedition’ or ‘Defamation’ charged for criticizing the government.

SC said that the fixed guidelines by a constitutional bench shall be followed. The guidelines were fixed in the Kedarnath versus Bihar case.

 

Wefornews Bureau

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