NGO moves SC against misuse of sedition laws

NGO moves SC against misuse of sedition laws

Seeks compliance with the apex court order

NGO moves SC against misuse of sedition laws

A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court over the “blatant” misuse of sedition laws by successive governments, despite an apex court ruling narrowing down its scope.

NGO Common Cause, along with anti-nuclear activist S P Udayakumar, sought direction for “strict compliance” with the court in its Kedarnath vs State of Bihar (1962) decision. The court had then held only those acts which involved incitement to violence or violence constituted a seditious act under Section 124A of the IPC.

“In carrying out arrests and slapping charges, the police and governments have rarely, if ever, respected this restriction. Successive governments have blatantly used Section 124A to stifle the voice of dissent and to further their political goals,” the PIL filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan contended.

The move comes in the backdrop of the Bengaluru Police registering an FIR against Amnesty International India after anti-India slogans were raised during an event organised by the NGO in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Citing the National Crime Records Bureau report, the petitioners pointed out that 47 cases of sedition were filed in 2014 and 58 arrests were made, but there was only one conviction.

The petitioner sought direction making it compulsory for the authority concerned to produce a reasoned order from the director general of police or police commissioner certifying that the “seditious act” either led to the incitement of violence or had the tendency or intention to create public disorder before lodging an FIR.

The petition listed out cases lodged to ‘threaten’ writer Arundhati Roy, cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, civil rights activist Binayak Sen, 67 Kashmiri students in Uttar Pradesh, actor Aamir Khan, Tamil folk singer S Kovan and JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar.

The petitioners also quoted Mahatma Gandhi, who had in 1922, said, “Section 124-A, under which I am happily charged, is perhaps the prince among the political sections of the IPC designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen.”

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