Don’t bring disrepute and disrespect to the judicial system for short term political gains
On February 09, 2016 Jawaharlal Nehru University students organised an event to mark the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Another meeting was held at the Press Club of India in Delhi on the next day where too anti-Bharat slogans were raised and placards were displayed. These events have become the genesis of the present day hot controversy which has been generated by insensitive self serving politicians in order to play vote bank politics. They are defending the acts of persons who openly have gone to the extent of defaming and degenerating the judicial system by calling death penalty to convicts as ‘Judicial Killings’. The authorities at the helm of the affairs have taken the cognisance and invoked the provision of Section 124 – A IPC read with other relevant violations of Law. When people would lose faith in the judiciary there would be anarchy. The Judiciary is the last hope of every peace living citizen including criminals and politicians too. In the State of J&K militancy bred because the rulers at the material time had forgotten to uphold the “Raj Dharma” by forgetting the oath administered by them to uphold the Constitution of Bharat and the State as well as the laws made there under. The result was that militants had hijacked four organs of the State and established their Islamic courts in rural areas of Kashmir valley. The present day politicians seem to be playing the same game.
It would be advantageous for them to know from my book titled “Plight of Jammu and Kashmir- The Unknown Files” that the seeds of ongoing militancy till present day were sown before the year 1980. I realised this fact while trying the case of Maqbool Bhatt relating to Bank dacoity cum murder of manager of J&K Bank branch Langate (Kashmir) who was a noble and patriot Kashmiri Muslim. Maqbool Bhat and his associates were later acquitted at the end of the case, because witnesses had gone hostile with the passage of time. Relevant details in sort of this case along with some examples of other such like cases can be found in my above stated book which throws sufficient light on how politicians had shown favours to the militants and uttered seditious utterances. I am flabbergasted to know how competent politician lawyers are taking the refuge under the Fundamental Right of Speech and Expression that implicated persons for the commission of act of sedition read with other offences are innocent because no violence has taken place in any of the events. This is not the correct legal view.
Article 19 (1) (a) guarantees Freedom of Speech and Expression. But curtailment of Rights to Freedom of Speech and Expression is justified in a distinct category consisting of those offences against public order which aim at undermining the security of the State or over-throwing it. Deletion of the word “Sedition” from the draft Article 13 (2) before the Article was finally passed as Article 19 (2) shows that criticism of government was justified to the extent that it is not to undermine the security or tend to over-throw the State. Supreme Court Constitution bench consisting of six Hon’ble Judges presided by the First Chief Justice of Bharat Hon’ble Kania J in the year 1950 in the case of Ramesh Thappar Vs State of Madras for the first time laid down the Law relating to Sedition which till day is being followed.
Recently, the Supreme Court has reiterated the contours of Sedition in the case of Nazir Khan and Others Vs State of Delhi 2003 (6) Supreme 234 by holding, “that Section 124-A IPC deals with Sedition which is a crime against the society nearly allied to that of treason, and it frequently proceeds treason by a short interval. Sedition embraces all those practices, whether by word, deed, or writing, which are calculated to disturb the tranquillity of the State and lead ignorant persons to endeavour to subvert the government and laws of the country. It is disloyalty in action, and the law considers as Sedition all those practices which have for their object to excite discontent or dissatisfaction, to create public disturbance, or to lead to civil war, to bring into hatred or contempt the sovereign or the government, the laws or the Constitution of the realm, and generally all endeavours to promote public disorder.”
From all what has been stated above it can safely be said that anybody who has glorified the militants as well as militancy and propagated disintegration of the country has committed the offence of sedition along with other offences. The conspirators and abettors also fall in the same line. I leave it to the judicial discretion of enlightened readers of this write up to decide for themselves how some of the disgruntled politicians of our country are behaving to bring disrepute and disrespect to the established Judicial system by forgetting that their contemplated short term gains ultimately would lead the Country to her disintegration.
Justice (Retd) G D Sharma (The writer is a Retd Judge of J&K High Court)