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Wednesday, 4 November 2020

State needs to be tolerant while invoking sedition laws, says High Court

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that the state was required to be more tolerant and circumspect while invoking laws pertaining to sedition and religious disaffection. The Bench added the current tendency to the contrary had been frowned upon by the Supreme Court.

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High court

Citizen has right to free speech

In a democracy, every citizen has a right to voice his/her opinion freely and criticise the functioning of the government. However, unparliamentary language should not be adopted.

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The assertion came in a case where a petitioner-accused, apparently unhappy with the lockdown imposed due to the Covid outbreak and the way the pandemic was being handled by the Government of India and Punjab Government, criticised their functioning.

Justice Sudhir Mittal asserted definitely intemperate and abusive language had been used against high officials of the governments as well as elected representatives. But it did not amount to exciting disaffection towards the government established by law or to excite hatred against it. It also did not amount to inciting religious disaffection or disruption of communal harmony. It was an expression of dissatisfaction with the functioning of the government and criticism of its policies.

"In a democracy, every citizen has a right to voice his/her opinion freely and criticise the functioning of the government. However, the same should be done in a decent manner and unparliamentary language should not be adopted," Justice Mittal asserted.

Before parting with the case, Justice Mittal granted regular bail to petitioner-accused Jasbir in the case registered at the Tanda police station in Hoshiarpur district under the provisions of the IPC, the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/3mMNAKE

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