'Welcome Observation': Politicians, Lawyers on CJI's 'Sedition' Query
Meanwhile, Haryana Police has charged over 100 farmers with sedition after the deputy speaker's vehicle was damaged.
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, on Thursday, 15 July, asked Attorney General of India KK Venugopal whether the provision for sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code is still required after 75 years of independence from colonial rule.
“Dispute is that it is a colonial law and was used by British to suppress freedom. It was used against Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Is this law still needed after 75 years of Independence?"CJI Ramana
The question came, as the apex court was hearing a plea moved by SG Vombatkere. The CJI-led bench also issued a notice to the central government and tagged the plea with a similar pending petition filed by the Editors Guild of India.
Meanwhile, former Union Minister Arun Shourie has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition law.
Lauding the CJI’s question pertaining to the law, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted:
"We welcome this observation by the Supreme Court."
Youth Congress, in their tweet, alleged that the government too, like the sedition law, is colonial as it “hates the voice of dissent”.
'Ironic That 100 Farmers Charged With Sedition on the Same Day..."
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra said, “Finally hoping this archaic law misused by the GoI will be thrown out”.
She also added: “Ironic that Haryana police charge over 100 farmers with sedition after alleged attack on BJP leader’s vehicle while SC questions why we have this outdated law! (sic)”
Swaraj India Chief Yogendra Yadav, in his tweet, also said that it was “case in point” that “yesterday, sedition case was registered against farmers in Sirsa for breaking the windshield of a minister's vehicle!”
“That's what this law is being used for," Yogendra Yadav added.
Haryana Police has reportedly charged over 100 farmers with sedition after the official vehicle of Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa was allegedly attacked and damaged in Sirsa, according to NDTV.
Apart from sedition, the FIR also reportedly charges farmers with 'attempt to murder'.
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (one of the protesting groups) has however slammed the charges, dubbing them "false, frivolous, and cooked up”. They have also reportedly vowed to contest them in court.
But, What About UAPA?
On the other hand, while Public Interest Lawyer Prashant Bhushan has said “kudos to the SC and CJI for standing up to the Govt on the gross misuse of this colonial law of sedition to silence dissent”…
Other lawyers such as Gautam Bhatia and Paras Nath Singh have pointed out that “without the UAPA being significantly read down, *even* a judicial strike down of sedition will be *mostly* symbolic. (sic)”
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