Voicing dissent against the government does not amount to sedition, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday while rejecting a plea to “terminate” the Lok Sabha membership of Dr. Farooq Abdullah and book him for sedition.
“The expression of a view which is a dissent from a decision taken by the Central Government itself cannot be said to be seditious,” the court said in its order.
A Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said there was nothing in Dr. Abdullah’s statement “which we find so offensive as to give a cause of action for a court to initiate proceedings”.
The court trashed the petition as a “clear case of publicity interest litigation” by petitioners who want to get their names in the Press.
The Bench dismissed the case levying costs on the petitioners to the tune of ₹50,000 to be deposited with the Supreme Court Advocates Welfare Fund in four weeks.
Petitioner Rajat Sharma accused Dr. Abdullah, president of the National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir, of stating that “in Kashmir he will get Article 370 of the Constitution restored with the help of China” during a speech on September 24.
Mr. Sharma argued that Article 370 had been deleted from the Constitution by majority in Parliament.
“Everybody knows that there are only two countries in the world which are trying to grab the Indian part of Indian territories, namely China and Pakistan, which mean that Farooq Abdullah is trying to hand over the Kashmir to China or Pakistan, which is totally contrary to the provision of the Constitution and amounts to sedition,” his petition said.