The Supreme Court of India had to once again declare in no uncertain terms that voicing dissent against the government does not amount to sedition.
Rejecting a petition against Dr. Farooq Abdullah, the apex court said, “The expression of a view which is a dissent from a decision taken by the Central Government itself cannot be said to be seditious.”
The petitioner Rajat Sharma had demanded that Dr.Abdullah be booked under sedition laws and his membership of the Lok Sabha membership revoked.
Coming as it does at a time when imposition of sedition charges against political opponents is becoming a norm the ruling by the highest court of justice in the country comes as a ray of hope for all those due to misinterpretation of the law.
Trashing the petition as a “clear case of publicity interest litigation”, the court said there was nothing in Dr. Abdullah’s statement “which we find so offensive as to give a cause of action for a court to initiate proceedings”.
The court dismissed the case levying costs on the petitioners to the tune of Rs 50,000.
Sharma, citing a speech of Dr. Abdullah, president of the National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir, had accused him of stating that “in Kashmir he will get Article 370 of the Constitution restored with the help of China.”
From this, he drew the inference that Abdullah is trying to hand over the Kashmir to China or Pakistan.
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The opinion expressed in the article is of the writer. Writer is a freelance journalist/journalist based in Delhi