PCI Chairman demands abolition of sedition law
CENSURES MEDIA FOR LACK OF COURAGE TO FIGHT SUCH TENDENCIES
New Delhi, Sep 14: Press Council of India chairman and former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju, has strongly advocated scrapping the archaic sedition law which was enacted during British rule.
Known for his strong views on national and issues related to the media, Justice Katju said the 1870 law “should either be repealed by the Parliament or declared invalid by a Constitutional Bench of the Apex Court.” However, he clarified that the sedition law applied only in cases where speech or actions of a person incite immediate violence.
Coming in the backdrop of the arrest and subsequent release of cartoonist and activist Aseem Trivedi in Mumbai, his views hold significance. He was speaking on the contentious issue during a media interaction jointly organized by the Press Club of India and Press Association here on Friday.
He strongly felt that Aseem did not commit any sedition and the people who arrested him deserved to be criminally proceeded against under Section 342 IPC which prohibits wrongful arrest. “It is absurd to say Aseem committed sedition. All he did was portray politicians as corrupt. The whole country is saying that. Will you then arrest everyone? In fact, the authorities who arrested Aseem violated the law. I warn the State authorities against such wrongful arrests in future. If they continue to express intolerance of dissent and arresting innocent people, I will personally initiate criminal proceedings against the violators of law,” he declared.
Justice Katju advised the civil society to file criminal proceedings before a judicial magistrate against those who wrongfully register sedition cases against persons like Aseem.
“There are two ways of protecting your freedom and bringing the violators to justice. Either you file an FIR with the police or a criminal complaint before a judicial magistrate,” he contended. In this regard he mentioned about the fate of sedition laws in other countries. “Many countries have begun to abolish sedition laws. The UK has no such law. The Supreme Court of Uganda has declared it unconstitutional and the civil society in Malaysia is seeking its repeal considering it is used to mull anti-Malay voices,” he said.
Taking the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee head-on for getting an ordinary citizen arrested just because he was reminding her of poll promises, Justice Katju said that the TMC leader should have been immediately arrested.
"If you do not have the courage, then follow me," he retorted to a query as to what is the way out. He lashed out at the electronic media for not agreeing to control and instead propounded the theory of self-regulation. Let them also join press council. I am least bothered about their TRP," he said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 14 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 14 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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