Sedition law can’t be used to “quieten the disquiet”: Delhi Court


PTI, Feb 17, 2021, 10:04 AM IST

 

New Delhi: The sedition law cannot be used to “quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling miscreants”, a court in Delhi said while granting bail to two men accused of posting fake videos on Facebook on the farmer protests.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana, while granting bail to Devi Lal Burdak and Swaroop Ram, who were arrested earlier this month for alleged sedition, said the use of Section 124 A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is a “seriously debatable issue” in the case before it.

The court said the law of sedition was 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 miscreants… 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 accused, I suspect that Section 124 A (Sedition) IPC can be validly invoked against the applicant,” the judge said in the order on Monday.

“In my considered opinion, on a plain reading of the tagline attributed to the accused, invocation of Section 124 A IPC is a seriously debatable issue,” the judge said.

According to the police, Burdak posted a fake video on his Facebook page with the tagline – “There is a rebellion in Delhi Police and around 200 police officials have given mass resignation.”

However, the video was about another incident where some Home Guard personnel in khaki were protesting in Jharkhand, the police said.

The second accused, Ram, shared a separate video with a similar tagline. However, the video was about a senior Delhi Police officer briefing personnel at the farmers’ protest site and asking policemen to tackle the situation properly, the police said.

“I have personally seen the video in the court room wherein evidently a senior police officer of Delhi Police is raising slogans, in a very agitated tone, and a group of Delhi Police personnel are seen standing beside him. The background voices also suggest a very charged up atmosphere. It was informed by the investigating officer that the accused were not the author of the said post and they had merely forwarded it,” the judge said.

The court then granted bail to both the accused and told them to join investigation whenever called by the police.

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