Outcome of cases from Delhi riots to Toolkit case may vary after SC verdict
New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) Cases such as 2020 Delhi riots, 2021 toolkit, 2016 JNU sedition, among others, being probed in the national capital by the Delhi Police, will have different impacts after the historic Supreme Court verdict on sedition cases.
The apex court on Wednesday said it is cognisant of the integrity of the state on one hand, and the civil liberties of citizens on the other, as it put on hold the colonial-era penal provision of sedition.
It also asked the Centre and state governments to refrain from registering any FIRs under the sedition provision, Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, till review of the law by Centre is complete.
The bench said that all pending trials, appeals and proceedings with respect to the charge framed under Section 124A of IPC be kept in abeyance.
Prior to the historic judgment on April 29, the Delhi High Court was hearing the bail applications of JNU scholars-activists Sharjeel Imam and Umar Khalid, who were allegedly linked to a case of 'larger conspiracy' behind the 2020 Delhi riots.
Then, a division bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar noted that a matter challenging the constitutional validity of the offence of Sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code is pending a hearing before the Supreme Court.
Considering this, the bench said it would be appropriate to wait for the order in the matter before hearing the present appeals.
Khalid and Imam, among several others, who have been arrested under the sedition charge, may not get immediate relief as there are other cases booked against them.
In the 2016 Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sedition case, Political activist Kanhaiya Kumar, JNU scholar Umar Khalid, and eight others are the accused.
Khalid, Anirban and Kanhaiya are accused of raising anti-India slogans on the campus at a meeting organised on February 9, 2016 in memory of 2001 Indian Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Notably, Kanhaiya later got bail in the case, however, Khalid is under imprisonment in another yet different sedition case.
In 2020, Khalid was slapped with UAPA for his alleged offensive speeches delivered at Amaravati during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens linked with the Delhi riots case.
On May 18, last year the Delhi High Court had pulled up the Centre for not filing its reply to a plea by climate activist Disha Ravi seeking to restrain police from leaking to media any investigation material in connection with FIR against her in the toolkit case.
The Delhi Police arrested her late on Friday 13, 2021 in the night from her Bengaluru residence in connection with an online document that canvassed support for the farmers' protest.
However, 10 days later, she was granted bail by a Delhi court. The court also slammed the Delhi Police for their 'scanty and sketchy evidence'.
She was also charged under sedition law.