In both the songs, Kovan is heard criticizing the government’s policy

Legal experts question activist Kovans arrest by Chennai police on sedition charges
news Kovan's arrest Sunday, November 01, 2015 - 13:19

Lawyers and activists in Tamil Nadu are not pleased with the legal proceedings taken by the state machinery headed by CM J Jayalalithaa against Tamil folk-artiste Kovan.

Kovan, a member of Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam (MKIK) performing arts group based in Trichy was forced onto a police van by cops in the wee hours ofFriday.  The cops had allegedly not mentioned the reason for arrest while they took him to Chennai.

According to the lawyer representing the singer and police, Kovan has been slapped with charges of sedition, attempt to create enmity between social groups and sale of any printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter for two of his songs, ‘Moodu Tasmac Moodu' and 'Ooruku oru Sarayam'.

In both the songs, Kovan is heard criticizing the government’s policy of monopolizing the sale of alcoholic beverages for the sake of revenue while compromising on basic services for its citizens.

However, experts in the legal domain have voiced their concern over the apparent abuse of power by the CM in power. Many lawyers have questioned the decision on the part of the remanding magistrate to send Kovan for two week’s custody without much pondering.

Describing the ideal process to be neither mechanical nor without application of mind, former special prosecutor for human rights court V Kannadasan  criticized the decision.

He went on to cite an incident of a metropolitan magistrate refusing to remand an accused in an attempt-to-murder case, saying he was not satisfied the charge could be invoked against the accused. retired judge of the Madras high court Justice K Chandru said, “How is it possible then to arrest an artist for demanding closure of retail liquor vending shops, when Tamil Nadu government itself has a separate department for canvassing prohibition“ 

 He also said that the act of sedition was one of the three ‘black Acts’ stated by Mahatma Gandhi due to their dictatorial nature.

While K M Vijayan, a noted constitutional law exponent stated a landmark Supreme Court judgment in the Kedarnath Singh Vs State of Bihar where the top court observed mere criticism or disaffection was not enough to make a man seditious.

This is an aggregated report of an article published on November 1 in Times of India (Chennai edition). 

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