Despite a landmark Supreme Court order suspending the controversial sedition law on Wednesday, no respite seems likely for the likes of Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, those arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, Congress leader Ajay Rai and a few others. Who have been arrested on charges of sedition. The primary reason is that they have also been prosecuted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, some of which are cognizable offenses.
The apex court, while suspending arrests, new cases and proceedings under section 124A of the IPC until the Center has completed its review of the law, said that those who have already been sued under the sedition law can go to the relevant court for release on bail.
Speaking to Financial Express Online, retired Delhi High Court judge Justice Manmohan Singh noted that a person detained under section 124A of the IPC would get immediate bail if he went to the concerned high court, adding that the high court could then quash the FIR. Or, perhaps, suspend their arrest until the central government has reviewed the law or the Supreme Court has made a final decision on the matter.
However, if other actionable and non-bailable cases are filed against the parties involved in the sedition law, the court will decide on other provisions of the IPC in due course based on their merits. This may mean that it may be easier to say than to be released on bail immediately. In many cases, in addition to sedition, many have been charged under strict anti-terrorism laws, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Justice Singh said that in such cases, the UAPA could take precedence over treason. “As such, there are many aspects of the sedition law in the UAPA that have far-reaching consequences,” Justice Singh said.
“From today, no FIR can be registered under the sedition law. If a state does not heed the SC order and still goes ahead and files an FIR against the person, the order gives the freedom to go to the appropriate High Court immediately and subsequently, stay on them. Arrested. It’s just a formality for the court, “said Justice Singh.
“The court cannot say whether we will proceed with the matter or proceed with the trial. The order is very clear – it is a directive of the apex court to the government not to file any new FIR under the Act for the time being till the re-examination process has been completed by the Center or a final order has been issued in this regard. Supreme Court, ”added Justice Singh.
Justice Singh said that under the interim order, section 124A would go into effect, where all governments would be hit for abusing the sedition law year after year. “For example, in the case of Umar Khalid, the court will determine his fate on the basis of other cases filed against him. In addition to the sedition law, the UAPA has a case against him. So, it will be taken into consideration, ”added the former Delhi High Court judge.
Former JNU student Umar Khalid faces sedition and UAPA charges. In 2020, another former JNU student, Sharjeel Imam, was slapped with UAPA for allegedly giving inflammatory speeches at Jamia area of Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in UP. He was later charged with treason in a Delhi court.
Two years ago, Delhi University professor Hani Babu and Kabir Kala Manch member Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap were arrested by the National Investigation Agency and charged with sedition, UAPA and other sections of the IPC for making provocative speeches at the Elgar Council. Events
In February, Uttar Pradesh Congress leader Ajay Rai filed a sedition case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for making hate speeches in Barnsi. He has also been charged under sections 269 (illegally or negligently spreading a life-threatening disease), 153 (inciting riots), 153A (promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion, class, etc.) and 188 (disobedience). For orders properly initiated by a government employee).
The sedition law of the colonial era is a non-bailable offense that can lead to imprisonment anywhere in three years.