SC on Sedition – UPSC GS2

Recent Cases:
  • Rajat Sharma Vs Union of India
  • AP MP case
Rajat Sharma Vs Union of India Case:
  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court against Farooq Abdullah, Former Chief Minister of J&K. It alleged that Farooq Abdullah made a seditious statement by saying that to restore Article 370, he would take help from China.
  • Hence, the petition asked the court to terminate the Lok Sabha membership of Farooq Abdullah and book him for sedition under Section 124A of IPC.
  • SC Observations:
    • The court said that the expression of a view that is different from a decision taken by the Central Government itself cannot be said to be seditious.
    • The court dismissed the petition. It further said that it was a clear case of publicity interest litigation by petitioners to get their names in the Press.
    • The court also imposed a fine of ₹50,000 on the petitioner to be deposited with the Supreme Court Advocates Welfare Fund in four weeks.
AP MP Case:
  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court after the Andhra Pradesh Police had registered a suo moto Sedition Case against two TV Channels.
  • These channels broadcasted programmes of a rebel Lok Sabha MP from the ruling party who criticised the government and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. So the sedition case was filed against these channels.
  • SC Observations:
    • Supreme Court has restrained the Andhra Pradesh police from taking coercive action against two TV news channels charged with sedition. However, the court did not stay the investigation in the case.
    • Court observed that there was a need to define the scope of offences under Section 124A (sedition) Section 153A (promotion of communal hatred) and Section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
    • This was especially needed in the context of media freedom and particularly on the issue of the rights of the press and free speech.

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