The Union Home Ministry has given the go-ahead to the Delhi Police to file a case of sedition against hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and writer-activist Arundhati Roy.
However, it is far from clear whether the police will proceed with the case, although legal advice received by them says a case has been made out under Section 124-A of the IPC, which applies to cases where disaffection against the State is advocated.
The police are now considering the ramifications of proceeding with the case and are likely to seek political clearance.
The Delhi Police are said to be having some hesitation in going ahead with filing the case because, once registered, the arrests of those named in the FIR would have to be effected.
Police officials met Ministry officials and had detailed discussions earlier in the day, sources said.
An unfazed Mr. Geelani said there were already 90 cases registered against him. “This will be the 91st.”
The legal opinion of the Ministry was received by the Delhi Police on Sunday, giving the go-ahead for registering a case against Mr. Geelani and Ms. Roy, besides others, for purportedly giving “hate speeches” at a seminar here last week.
The Legal Department had favoured registering a case against them under Section 124-A of IPC which states: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards” the State can be sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment.
The seminar, in which Mr. Geelani was also speaking, had triggered sharp comments from the BJP. Party leader Arun Jaitley accused the government of “looking the other way” when a number of separatist groups met at a conference to instigate secession and to say that India could not be one and must be broken.