A Delhi Court has said that the Law of sedition is a powerful tool which cannot be invoked to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling the miscreants. Dharmender Rana, Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala House Court while granting bail to a person accused of sedition, in the case of, State vs Swaroop Ram, said that in the absence of exhortation or incitement to create disorder or disturb the public peace or resort to violence, law of sedition cannot be invoked.
As the bar and bench reported, the judgement said, “The law of sedition is a powerful tool in the hands of the state to maintain peace and order in society. However, it cannot be invoked to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling the miscreants. Evidently, law proscribes any act which has a tendency to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence. In the absence of any exhortation, call, incitement or instigation to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence or any allusion or oblique remark or even any hint towards this objective, attributable to the applicant accused, I suspect that Section 124 A IPC can be validly invoked against the applicant.”
The bail applicant, a 21-year- old labourer, was an accused in an FIR registered for commission of offences under 124A/505/468/471 IPC. He was in judicial custody since February 5, 2021. As per the claim of the Prosecution, the accused posted a fake video on his facebook page with the tagline “Delhi Police mae bagawat 200 policekarmiyon ne diya samuhik istifa. Jai Jawaan Jai Kisan# I_Support_ Rakesh_ Tikait_ Challenge” (There is a rebellion in Delhi Police and around 200 police officials have given mass resignation. Hail the soldier. Hail the farmer).
The court also said, “In my considered opinion, it is only when a person dishonestly or fraudulently makes or executes a document with intention of causing it to be believed that such document was made or executed by some other person or by the authority of some other person by whom or by whose authority he knows that it was not made or executed that he is guilty of creating a ‘ False Document’. In the case at hand, the prosecution has failed to point out any representation or endeavor on the part of the applicant/accused to cast an impression that the Facebook Page was made, executed or created under the authority of some other person with whose authority it was not made or executed.”
This ruling of the Court pushes one to keep a close eye on the other cases wherein young activists like Disha Ravi have been accused of sedition.
( The article was first published in Bar and Bench )