Explain sedition charges against cartoonist, court tells policeSeptember 14th, 2012 - 6:04 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai, Sep 14 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Friday said it will create a framework on slapping a sedition charge in future as it heard a public interest litigation (PIL) against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who has been charged under it, a lawyer said.
A division bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Amjad Sayyed stated that they intend to lay down certain parameters for application of the law of sedition.
“The court observed that police will, in a report, have to explain how Trivedi was charged with sedition,” Trivedi’s lawyer Mihir Desai told IANS.
The court noted that in the absence of parameters for application of the law, there might be “serious encroachment of a person’s liberties guaranteed to him in a civil society”.
It asked police to file a comprehensive affidavit by Oct 12, and explain the grounds on which the charge of sedition was applied.
The court rapped Mumbai police for arresting Trivedi on “frivolous” grounds and added that the action breached his freedom of speech and expression.
“The court asked police as to how they can arrest people on frivolous grounds. The court said that arresting a cartoonist is a breach of his liberty of freedom of speech and expression,” Desai said.
Desai also said that he will file a plea seeking to quash the case on the next date of hearing, Oct 12.
Trivedi, an activist of India Against Corruption (IAC) and a Kanpur-based cartoonist, was charged with sedition for drawing cartoons insulting Indian emblems, including the Constitution, during Anna Hazare’ anti-corruption rally in Mumbai in December 2011. He was arrested Sep 8.
Following nationwide outrage, Mumbai police Monday presented him before a court which sent him into judicial custody till Sep 24. Later, the high court granted him bail and he was released Wednesday.
The case was Thursday transferred to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed to review the sedition charges against him.
The SIT will review the sedition charge against Trivedi and submit a report to the Maharashtra government. Based on the report, the government might order the withdrawal of the charge if required.