Delhi LG Gives Nod To Prosecute Writer Arundhati Roy for 'Provocative' Remarks

The Booker Prize-winning author and essayist is known to be a strong critic of the Modi government.

2 min read

Writer and activist Arundhati Roy could be prosecuted over alleged "provocative speeches" in a roughly 13-year-old case.

Know more: Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena has allowed for Roy as well as former Kashmiri professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain to be prosecuted, news agency PTI reported on Tuesday, 10 October.

  • The 2010 case also names Kashmiri separatist leader Sayed Ali Shah Geelani and Delhi University lecturer Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani as the accused.

  • However, both of them died in 2021 and 2019 respectively.

The charges: Roy and Hussain reportedly face charges under the following sections of the Indian Penal Code:

  • Section 153A: Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony

  • Section 153B: Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration

  • Section 505: Statements conducing to public mischief

Why it matters: A Booker Prize-winning author and essayist, Arundhati Roy is considered by many to be one of the most prominent voices of dissent against the Narendra Modi-led government.

"I worry that from now until December (when five states will have elections) and May next year (when general elections will be held), there may be more arrests,” Roy had recently said at a protest against the NewsClick raids.

"If the BJP wins the election in 2024, India will not remain a democracy," she added.


Why did this case need the consent of the Delhi LG to move forward?

As per Section 196(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the state government's sanction is a prerequisite for certain offences such as hate speech, hurting religious sentiments, hate crimes, sedition, waging war against state and promoting enmity, etc.

Rewind: On 28 October 2010, Kashmiri activist Sushil Pandit filed a complaint at Delhi's Tilak Marg Police Station, PTI reported.

  • The complaint alleged that a conference had been organised by the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) on 21 October.

  • It was allegedly held under the banner 'Azadi – The Only Way'.

  • The issue discussed and propagated was "separation of Kashmir from India," the complaint read.

  • It further alleged that the speeches delivered at the conference were provocative in nature, thus jeopardising public peace and security.

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