PIL wanted SC to intervene as Police has arrested Civil rights activists, writers, student leaders, actors cartoonists and poets for Sedition.
Supreme Court has today asserted that “strong criticism of the Government” can not even be defamatory, what to talk of seditious.
Apex Court has issued directions to all Govt. Authorities, including Police and Criminal Trial Courts, to follow its Constitution Bench ruling wherein it hs been ruled that only incitement to public disorder and violence can lead to a sedition charge.
Bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Uday U Lalit ruled that it wish to refrain from issuing any uniform guidelines on registration of sedition FIRs.
It reminded that a larger bench of SC has already provided detailed safeguards which are binding on all authorities.
Anybody making a strong criticism of the Government… cannot be even charged with criminal defamation then how can such person be hounded for Sedition, Bench observed.
It reminded that Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar, a 1962 Constitution Bench Judgment had upheld the constitutional validity of Section 124A for Sedition in the IPC, but had also reminded that a person can be prosecuted for Sedition only if his alleged acts actually caused incitement of violence or create public disorder or disturb public peace.
Bench highlighted that evey citizen has a right to say whatever he or she likes about the Government by way of criticism or comment.
The top court was moved by NGO Common Cause and others seeking guidelines in terms of this judgment.
PIL was argued by Prashant Bhushan. He stressed that policemen are usually unaware of the directives of the Kedar Nath case and as result arbitrary arrests are made and numerous cases of sedition are registred.
Civil rights activists, writers, student leaders, actors cartoonists and poets have been arrested on whimsical grounds under sedition cases.
Bench said that it cannot presume that the trial court judges or Police are not aware of SC judgment.
The PIL had pointed out that as per NCRB data 47 cases of sedition were filed in 2014 alone, and 58 persons being arrested in connection with these cases.
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