Sedition law requires interpretation in context of press freedom, says SC

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New Delhi, May 31

The Supreme Court said on Monday that sedition laws in the country require interpretation especially in the context of press freedom—a significant statement that comes at a time when several journalists face sedition charges for news reports their news reports.

The court’s remark came before it restrained Andhra Pradesh police from taking any coercive action against two Telgu news channels—TV5 and ABN Andhrajyothi—for alleged sedition in showing ‘offensive’ speeches of YSR rebel MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju.

A special bench headed by Justice DY Cyhandrachud sought the response of the state government within four weeks on the pleas of the channels which are charged for various offences including the harsh penal offence of sedition.

The bench, also comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat, also made clear that there shall be no coercive action against the employees or the staff of the news channels in connection with the same FIR.

“We are of the view that provisions of 124A (sedition) and 153 (promoting enmity between classes) of the IPC require interpretation, particularly on the issue of the rights of the press and free speech,” the court said. 

It was alleged that the FIRs were registered against the channels for publishing the press statements of Raju.

The top court had earlier granted bail to the lawmaker in connection with the same case.

The past few years have seen a rise in sedition charges being invoked by law enforcement agencies.

In January, Congress Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, Congress mouthpiece National Herald’s senior consulting editor Mrinal Pande, Qaumi Awaz editor Zafar Agha, The Caravan magazine’s editors Paresh Nath,  Anant Nath, and Vinod K. Jose were among those who faced sedition charges for sharing an unverified news article during the farmers’ tractor rally in Delhi on January 26.

The Supreme Court had stayed their arrest later. —  Agencies



Disclaimer: This post has not been edited by our staff and is published from a syndicated feed. The Original Source of this post can be found at Source link

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