After All, Why Should Not Disha Ravi Get Sedition

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Bengaluru’s environmental activist Disha is in a rage over Ravi’s arrest. Disha has been accused along with Nikita Jacob and a person named Shantanu for creating a Twitter storm on January 26 and inciting dissent against the government. Protests have been taking place in many cities of the country since the arrest of environmental activist Disha Ravi. While the Delhi Police claims that Disha Ravi’s toolkit is part of the conspiracy. In this case, the Supreme Court Judgment is also being cited in Kedarnath vs Government of Bihar. In this historic judgment, the court did not consider the government’s criticism to be treason but kept the conspiracy against the government and society under its purview.

Disha Ravi’s case is different from the case of Kedarnath vs State of Bihar in Bihar!

Delhi Police says that Disha Ravi went viral by editing a toolkit document through a WhatsApp group. Disha Ravi was working with the conspirators who prepared the toolkit document. Disha Ravi is accused that through this, these people had prepared a big conspiracy against the country. According to the police, Disha Ravi had told in the toolkit how to mobilize support on social media in the farmers’ movement. It described how to use the hashtag and what to do during the performance. On 3 February, activist Greta Thunberg shared this toolkit on social media, supporting farmers, and later deleted the toolkit.

According to the police, the entire ‘toolkit’ was uploaded on Twitter to disturb the atmosphere. According to the police, the toolkit was told about the action plan of how to strike a digital strike on and around 26 January. According to Delhi Police, it was an international conspiracy. The pro-Khalistani organization has also been said to be instrumental in creating this toolkit. That is, according to the police, this case of Disha Ravi is completely different from the case of Kedarnath vs State of Bihar in Bihar.

What is the case of Kedarnath vs the State of Bihar?

In the 1962 case of Kedarnath v. State of Bihar, the Supreme Court in its landmark judgment agreed with the Federal Court of India in this matter. The Supreme Court ruled in the Kedarnath case that treason could not be made by criticizing the government or commenting on the administration. Actually, Kedarnath Singh, who hails from Bihar, was booked by the state government in 1962 for sedition in a speech case. But the High Court had stayed it. A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Kedarnath Singh case also said in its order that seditious speeches and expression can be punished only if it leads to violence, dissatisfaction, or social unrest.

The Supreme Court, while limiting the scope of IPC Section-124A, said that such an act has a tendency or intention to spread disorder or cause disturbances in law and order or to encourage violence, then that act will become treason. The decision of the Supreme Court established that every person has the right to speak or write about the government through criticism or comment. In this case, it has also been said that this statement should not incite people to violence against the law-based government or with the intention of causing public disorder. The Supreme Court ruled that only two people shouting slogans once or twice cannot be seen as an attempt to incite hatred or dissatisfaction with the government.

Treason law was made in 1860

The law of treason was enacted in 1860 and then incorporated in the IPC in 1870. Its definition was changed during the Quit India Movement in 1942. Expressing dissatisfaction against the government after the change in definition cannot be considered treason. Rather, it would be considered treason in the same situation when this dissatisfaction is also appealed to incite violence and disturb law and order. It was adopted by the Indian Constitution after the country gained independence in 1947. A case of treason can be registered under Section 124 A of the IPC for spreading hate or dissent in written or oral words, signs, directly or indirectly. If a case is registered under section 124A, the convict can be sentenced to life imprisonment for three years. In fact, in 1962, the Supreme Court also agreed on the same definition of treason.

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