The law and logic behind rising sedition cases in Modi era

Sedition case, Disha Ravi
Lately, police across the country have been booking sedition cases against citizens for raising voice against the government and its policies | Image - Eunice Dhivya

The Patiala House Court in Delhi last week granted bail to 22-year-old Disha Ravi, arrested in connection with the farmers’ protest “toolkit” case and charged with sedition. The court observed that it did not find any palpable reason to deny bail considering the scanty and sketchy evidence on record.

“Citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic nation. They cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with the state policies,” additional solicitor general Dharmender Rana observed.

The bail order quoted from the judgment in Niharendu Dutt Mazumdar v. Emperor AIR 1942 to say that the “offense of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of the governments”.

“Difference of opinion, disagreement, divergence, dissent, or for that matter, even disapprobation, are recognised as legitimate tools to infuse objectivity in state policies. An aware and assertive citizenry, in contradistinction with an indifferent or docile citizenry, is indisputably a sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy,” the Court noted.

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