Supreme Court puts hold on sedition law till Centre re-examines provisions

News Network
May 11, 2022

New Delhi, May 11: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered to keep the colonial-era sedition law in abeyance till the Centre re-examines the provision, carrying life term as the maximum penalty, in view of concerns expressed over its misuse to jail the critics of the ruling dispensation.

A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli passed the interim order on a batch of petitions, challenging validity of the penal provision, for having a chilling effect on fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

The court said, "it is appropriate that the Centre and States would refrain from registering new FIRs under Section 124A of the IPC".

The bench said those already arrested under the law may approach the competent court for bail.

The top court noted Attorney General K K Venugopal had given some glaring instances of lodging the FIRs under the sedition law, including one related to Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband for intending to recite Hanuman Chalisa.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted a proposal on behalf of the Union government, contending that a cognisable offence under Section 124A can't be prevented from being registered.

But there can be a scrutiny at senior police officer level as per the mandate in the Vinod Dua case, depending on facts and situations. This would also be subject to judicial review, he said.

With regard to pending cases, Mehta said these are already before a judicial forum, which should be allowed to examine the matter. "We do not know the gravity of the offence of each case. No accused is before this case.  Statute can't be stayed at third party's behest in a PIL," Mehta submitted.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for petitioners, including S G Vombatkere, said the proposal by the Centre is unacceptable. He said Section 66A of IT Act was struck down by the top court for being unconstitutional, even though the power was with the SP-level officer.

"It is because of sea change, Section 124A has become unconstitutional. When the Kedar Nath Singh (1962) was decided by the top court upholding its validity, it was non-cognisable offence and made congnisable in 1973 only," he said.

On Tuesday, the court had asked the Centre to clarify within 24 hours if the operation of the penal provision of sedition can be kept in abeyance till the process of review of the law is over.

The top court also sought to know about the fate of pending cases under the law as the government asked the court to defer the adjudication on its validity until it re-examined and re-considered the provision.

On Monday, responding to the batch of petitions, the government had said it has decided to re-examine and reconsider the colonial-era sedition law in the spirit of 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' (75 years of independence) and the prime minister's "unequivocal views" in favour of "protection of civil liberties".

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News Network
June 26,2022

uddhav.jpg

Mumbai, June 26: Shiv Sena rebel leader Eknath Shinde met BJP's Devendra Fadnavis in Gujarat last night to discuss possible government formation in Maharashtra, sources have said. Team Thackeray, meanwhile, said it will "not forget the betrayal" done by the rebels.
    
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>> This morning, Sena's spokesperson Sanjay Raut took a swipe at the rebels, camping in BJP-ruled Assam. "How long will you hide in Guwahati," he asked in his tweet which included image of Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, who has served notices to 16 rebel MLAs on the Sena disqualification plea.

>> Eknath Shinde flew to Vadodara on a special flight last night from Assam's Guwahati where he is camping with nearly 40 rebel MLAs. Home Minister Amit Shah was also in Vadodara last night, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

>> After talks with Mr Fadnavis, Mr Shinde returned to the main city in BJP-ruled Assam. Mr Shinde and the rebels want to ally with their former partner, BJP, which they claim is a "natural ally" of the Sena.

>> "We are traditionally the rivals of NCP and Congress, they are our primary challengers in constituencies. We requested CM Uddhav Thackeray that natural alliance should be done," said rebel MLA Chimanrao Patil in a video tweeted by Eknath Shinde.

>> The rebels have said that they are still with the Shiv Sena and claim that they have a two-thirds majority. Rebel MLA Deepak Kesarkar further demanded recognition of their group 'Shiv Sena Balasaheb' and warned of going to court if it is not done and denied the role of the BJP behind their revolt.

>> Despite being reduced to a minority, Team Thackeray has maintained that it will win in the event of a trust vote. "You already know what was discussed in the meeting, the important thing is that we will not forget the betrayal done by rebel Shiv Sena MLAs. We (Shiv Sena) will win for sure," Aaditya Thackeray after a party meeting in Mumbai.

>> The Shiv Sena passed six resolutions at the National Executive meeting chaired by Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday. At the meeting at Sena Bhavan, Mr Thackeray was authorised to take action against the rebels. His side has also challenged a move by the rebels to call themselves "Shiv Sena Balasaheb Thackeray" in a letter to the Election Commission.

>> The ongoing battle for the control of the Shiv Sena between Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde played out on the streets of Maharashtra on Saturday with the cadres loyal to the Thackerays staging protests against the rebels by defacing their banners, throwing stones, and vandalising the office of an MLA in various parts of the state.

>> The Mumbai police has deployed its personnel at the city-based offices of various political parties and leaders, including ministers, MLAs and MPs, and their residences as a security measure, an official said on Saturday.

>> The prohibitory orders issued by the Mumbai police in the first week of June will continue to remain in place till July 10. It bans the assembly of five or more persons at one place.

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News Network
June 16,2022

Mangaluru, June 16: Three months after the Karnataka High Court ruled that Muslim girl students should abide by the decisions of the college development committees (CDCs) and wear prescribed uniforms without hijab, 19 students of government first grade college at Haleyangadi here have been denied education for refusing to remove headscarves.

The students, who are not ready to fulfil the demand of college authorities to show their hair in classrooms, are now on the verge of dropping out of the college as they were neither allowed to write examinations nor attended classes for the last three months.

Similar issues at university college of Mangalore, government first grade college at Uppinangady were solved after discussions with students and parents.

However, the 19 students at Haleyangadi college are facing loss of education after the college authorities strictly prohibited wearing of hijab inside the institution as per the High Court verdict on March 15.

Though the students say that the High Court order is only applicable to pre-university colleges, the college claims that the order is applicable to all institutions where the CDCs have prescribed specific dress code or uniform.

Some students have made up their mind to discontinue studies though they still have a distant hope that the college authorities will reverse their decision, sources said.

College principal K Sridhar said the 19 girls, who are third year degree students, did not appear for the exams and skipped the new semester classes. Though they tried to convince the students to comply with the High Court order, they are insisting on wearing hijab, he said.

The talks with parents of the students were also disappointing, the principal said, adding it is unfortunate to see the girls, who studied at the college for two years, dropping out suddenly.

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News Network
June 18,2022

New Delhi, June 18: The Home Ministry of Narendra Modi led government Saturday announced to reserve 10 per cent vacancies for recruitment in the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles for Agniveers, the Home Minister's Office said.

The announcement comes amid widespread protests against the recently unveiled 'Agnipath' scheme for recruitment of soldiers in the armed forces on a short-term contractual basis. The soldiers recruited under this scheme will be called 'Agniveers'.

"The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decides to reserve 10% vacancies for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles for Agniveers," the Home Minister's Office said in a tweet.

The MHA also announced age relaxation for 'Agniveers' for recruitment in the CAPFs and Assam Rifles.

In its second tweet, the Home Minister's Office said, "The MHA also decides to give 3 years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in CAPFs & Assam Rifles. Further, for the first batch of Agniveer, the age relaxation will be for 5 years beyond the prescribed upper age limit."

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