The Supreme Court on Monday said that all authorities across the country would be bound by the Kedar Nath judgment of the apex court, which limits the scope of filing sedition cases under the provisions of Indian Penal Code.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Uday Lalit gave the direction after Prashant Bhushan appeared on the behalf of the petitioners –NGO Common Cause and S. P. Udayakumar (an anti-nuclear activist against whom sedition charges have been made) – and said that there has been an increase in the number of sedition cases being filed.
Bhushan argued before the bench that the law of sedition is being grossly misused, misapplied and abused by the authorities and that the authorities are not following the judgment in Kedar Nath which states that Section 124A (sedition) is only applicable where there is violence or incitement to violence in the alleged act of sedition.
Taking note of this submission, the bench in a brief order, said “we are of the considered opinion that the authorities while dealing with the offences under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code shall be guided by the principles laid down by the Constitution Bench in Kedar Nath Singh vs. State of Bihar case. Except saying so, we do not intend to deal with any other issue as we are of the considered opinion that it is not necessary to do so. The writ petition is accordingly disposed off.”
BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya on Wednesday said that seeking proof of recent cross-LoC surgical strikes on terror launch pads and doubting the Army over it, amounts to sedition. “After the surgical strikes, a top official of the Army had officials briefed the media about it. In spite of this, if somebody doubts Army, this amounts to sedition,” Vijaywargiya told reporters here. “If somebody was seeking proof of the surgical strikes, this means he is casting aspersions on the Army. Army should not be doubted at any cost rather its morale should be boosted,” he added.
He resorted to this, “an idea I got from watching news”, after exhausting all other options, Singh adds. “My house was demolished by my rich neighbour, who is building his home illegally. They threatened me when I contacted the police and got the construction work stopped. I received an enormously high bill for house and water taxes. I made the rounds of the KDA and KMC (Kanpur Development Authority and Kanpur Municipal Corporation) too, but no one paid heed to me. I paid bribes and wrote letters to the chief minister, governor, district magistrate, SSP, all went unheard.”
Rajeev Shukla, PRO, Kanpur Municipal Corporation, says he first heard of Chandrapal when the news of his arrest appeared in papers. “I am not aware of the taxes he is talking about. But if has filed a complaint, his issues will be resolved, may be not immediately, but in some time,” Shukla says.
Chandrapal’s father Kishan, now pushing 90, points out that police came within five minutes of the flag going up. The Jawahar Nagar police post is right opposite their house. “Photu bhi khich gai or use ghar ke andar se utha ke bhi le gaye. Itni jaldi to murder ke case mein bhi nahin pahunchti police (Photos were also taken, and he was dragged out of home. Police don’t show such alacrity even in a murder case),” Kishan says.