The petition has been filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of Common Cause and Udaykumar.

Activist Udayakumar moves SC against misuse of sedition says govt uses sedition as weapon
news Supreme Court Wednesday, August 17, 2016 - 13:32

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court by an NGO ‘Common Cause’ and environmental activist SP Udayakumar, who had spearheaded the Kudankulam protests in 2011, seeking the court’s intervention to address the misuse of the sedition laws by successive governments.

Speaking to The News Minute, S P Udayakumar, who has been charged with sedition said, “The successive governments are using the sedition case as a joke and they cannot file sedition case for trivial things. In our case, my friends and I have 20 sedition cases for protesting against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. This is completely unacceptable.”

Speaking about the recent case against Amnesty International, he said, “Now, governments are using it, as a weapon to silence dissent and opposition, the recent example being the Amnesty International.”

Asked about what outcome they are expecting from the case, he said, “We want the Supreme Court to take a clear stand on what is sedition and what is not. Speaking against the government or an institution is not sedition, sedition is when you undermine the national interest and blatant activity against people that involves violence. Just speaking your mind and making a statement cannot be seditious.”

The petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of Common Cause and Udaykumar also appealed to the court to issue an order making it compulsory for the DGP, or the Police Commissioner to certify that the “seditious act” either lead to the incitement of violence or had the intention to create public disorder before any FIR is filed or any arrest is made.

The petitioners also prayed that the apex court would issue “an appropriate writ directing for a review of pending cases of sedition in various courts to produce an order from the DG or commissioner of police” certifying the seditious act. The petitioners also prayed that where such an order isn’t provided, the court would direct the prosecution to drop such cases of sedition.  

The petition notes that over the years a number of people, including writer Arundhati Roy, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar among others have been slapped with sedition charges by the government and law agencies to “scuttle dissent, suppress freedom of speech and expression and to muzzle the voices of those critical of the ruling government.”  

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