The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the arrest of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and six journalists including Rajdeep Sardesai and Vinod K Jose, in the controversial case where they were booked under charges of sedition for tweets related to farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde issued notices and sought responses from the Union government and others on the petitions filed by Tharoor and journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Vinod K Jose and Anant Nath.
When the bench said it was issuing notice in the matter, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Shashi Tharoor, said that no coercive action be taken against the petitioners in the meantime.
‚ÄúNothing is going to happen. Where is the danger,‚ÄĚ said the Bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. We will hear you after two weeks and stay the arrest in the meanwhile, the Bench said.
On January 30, Delhi Police had filed a case against the persons under various charges including sedition, alleging that they tweeted fake news over the death of a farmer during the tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day. Madhya Pradesh Police had also filed a case against Tharoor and the six journalists over their alleged ''misleading'' tweets on the violence during the farmers' tractor rally in Delhi.
On January 26, thousands of protesting farmers had clashed with the police in the national capital during the tractor rally called by the farmer unions to highlight their demand for repeal of the three farm laws.
Tharoor and journalists were booked under sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (Uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person], 504 [Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (Criminal Intimidation), 505(2) (Statements conducing to public mischief), 124-A (Sedition), 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and 120-B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code besides Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.