Sedition, defamation charges cannot be invoked for criticism: Supreme Court


New Delhi: Sedition or defamation cases cannot be slapped on anyone criticising the government, the Supreme Court today said in a clear message. 

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Meanwhile SC has refused to entertain a plea challenging the "misuse and misapplication" of sedition laws in the country. The apex court said any affected party, against whom sedition charges are slapped, is free to move the court on its own. There is no need for any hearing by way of Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the court said.

Last month, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan's NGO Common Cause had moved the Supreme Court on the alleged misuse of sedition laws. "With rampant misuse of sedition law, we have filed PIL to ensure there's incitement to violence for charging sedition," he had alleged and added that the sedition law is causing persecution of students.

"Sedition laws are being misused," the NGO had alleged and demanded that the approval of concerned DGP or commissioner should be sought before booking someone on charges of sedition. The PIL was filed even as Amnesty International India was booked on the charge of sedition on August 16. 

Amnesty International had organised the event in Bengaluru as part of a campaign to seek justice for "victims of human rights violations" in Jammu and Kashmir. The event took a turn for the ugly and heated exchanges were witnessed and allegedly anti-India and anti-Army slogans were raised. While refusing to entertain the PIL, the Supreme Court also said a constitutional bench had fixed guidelines in the Kedarnath Singh versus Bihar case and they should be followed.

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