Justice BN Srikrishna said insulting the National Anthem does not amount to sedition.

Apex courts order on playing National Anthem in cinema is judicial overkill Former SC judge PTI
news National Anthem Thursday, December 22, 2016 - 16:45

Four days after writer and activist from Kerala Kamal C Chavara was detained for allegedly insulting the National Anthem, former Supreme Court judge Justice BN Srikrishna has stated that insulting the national anthem does not amount to sedition.

In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18's Smitha Nair, Justice Srikrishna said, “Assuming there was insult to the National Anthem that may become punishable under some other provision of law but it cannot be called sedition.”

He also pointed to countries like the US where burning of the national flag, was held as a citizen’s fundamental right or the UK where the union jack was printed on lingerie.

Weighing in on the recent Supreme Court order directing theatres across India to play the national anthem to instil patriotism among citizens, the former SC judge said, “Respect must be commanded and not demanded or enforced. Enforcement of such sentiments will be counterproductive.”

Srikrishna also went on to say, “I think the SC should steer clear of such issues and leave it to the executive to implement the laws already in existence. Nothing but judicial overkill in my view.”

In the same interview, he also explained what set of offences can be termed as seditious.

“The offence as defined consists of doing something by words or acts to promote disaffection towards the govt established by law. When it's constitutionality was challenged, the SC has read down the provision and held that there must be an additional element of incitement to breach of law and order in order to amount to offence of sedition,” Srikrishna emphasised.

On December 18, Kamal Chavara was detained for questioning by the Kozhikode police following a complaint given by BJP’s youth wing, Yuva Morcha, that he had insulted the National Anthem in his novel.

Kerala writer under police scanner for allegedly insulting the National Anthem in his novel

Days earlier, six people were arrested for not standing for the National Anthem ahead of the screening of a film at the International Film Festival of Kerala on December 13. In that case too, it was the Yuva Morcha that handed over the complaint to the police.