SC rejects plea seeking mechanism to deal with alleged misuse of sedition law


The Supreme Court on March 6 dismissed a petition seeking framing of proper mechanism and guidelines to deal with alleged misuse of sedition law by the government machinery.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari refused to entertain the plea filed by a social activist and said it is open for the petitioner to approach the appropriate authority on the issue.

The apex court also questioned the petitioner for seeking quashing of an FIR in a sedition case lodged against the management of a Karnataka-based school for allegedly allowing students to stage an anti-CAA and anti-NRC drama.

“How can you ask for quashing of the FIR? You are not the affected party,” the bench told advocate Utsav Singh Bains, who was appearing for petitioner Yogita Bhayana.

Bains told the bench that the petitioner was not pressing for the prayer seeking quashing of the FIR in the case.

He said the petitioner was seeking direction for framing of guidelines “to check the draconian misuse of sedition law”.

Bains alleged there is an emerging trend that anyone who criticises the policies of the government is booked under sedition law which shows its misuse.

“Let the affected party come and we will hear them. Why it should be done at your instance,” the bench said.

The petition had sought quashing of an FIR against the principal and other staff of the Shaheen School at Bidar who have been booked under sections 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 124A of the IPC says that “whoever brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards…the Government shall be punished with imprisonment for life…”.

The plea had sought a direction to the Centre and the Karnataka government “to quash the FIR registered in connection of seditious charges against the school management, teacher and a widowed parent of a student for staging a play criticising CAA, NRC and NPR.”

The petition had claimed that the police “also questioned students, and videos and screenshots of CCTV footage showing them speaking to the students were shared widely on social media, prompting criticism.”

The drama was staged on January 21 by students of the fourth, the fifth and the sixth standard.

The sedition case was filed based on a complaint by a social worker on January 26.

The complainant has alleged that school authorities “used” the students to perform a drama where they “abused” Prime Minister Narendra Modi in context of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.

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Updated: March 7, 2020 — 3:13 am

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