Remarks against PM derogatory but not sedition, Karnataka High Court’s big decision

Jackson Brown

Karanataka high court: The Karnataka High Court quashed a sedition case against a school management, saying the unparliamentary words used against the Prime Minister were derogatory and irresponsible, but did not amount to sedition.

Justice Hemant Chandangoudar of the Kalaburagi bench of the high court quashed the FIRs lodged by Bidar’s New Town police station against persons associated with the management of Shaheen School, Alauddin, Abdul Khaliq, Mohd. Bilal Inamdar and Mohd. Mehtab.

The court noted that the incorporated section 153(a) of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between religious groups) did not come into play in the case.

Justice Chandangoudar said in his judgment that the use of such unparliamentary words that the Prime Minister should be beaten with slippers is not only derogatory but also irresponsible.

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He said that constructive criticism of the policies of the government is permitted but constitutional functionaries cannot be disrespected for taking policy decisions which may have objections from a particular section of the people.

The court noted that though there were allegations that the play staged by the children criticized several laws of the government. It was said that if such laws are implemented then Muslims may have to leave the country.

The play was staged inside the school premises. The children did not use any such words which incite people for violence or spread disorder.

The High Court said that the drama came to the public when one of the accused shared the video of the drama on social media.

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The court in its judgment said that it cannot be imagined that the petitioners staged the drama to incite people to violence against the government or to create public disorder.

Students of Classes 4, 5 and 6 of the school staged a play against the amended Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizens on 21 January 2020, following which an FIR for sedition was lodged against the school administration.

Nrapendra Gupta

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