“Sedition for breaking the windshield of a minister’s vehicle”: Politicians react to Supreme Court’s observation on misuse of law

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Opposition politicians have reacted to the Supreme Court’s observation on the misuse of the sedition law amidst 100 farmers in the BJP-ruled Haryana being charged with sedition for attacking a saffron party leader’s car.

Sedition law

Hearing a petition from a retired armed forces officer, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Thursday questioned the validity of the sedition law asking if it was needed ‘ after 75 years of independence.’

Reacting to the CJI’s observation, Swaraj India’s Yogendra Yadav tweeted, ‘Yes, that’s the question. Case in point: Yesterday, sedition case was registered against farmers in Sirsa for breaking the windshield of a minister’s vehicle! That’s what this law is being used for.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote on the microblogging site Twitter, “We welcome this observation by the Supreme Court.”

Meanwhile, Former Union Minister Arun Shourie too has moved the top court challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition law saying that this was violative of Articles 14 and 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.

CJI Ramana on Thursday had asked Attorney General KK Venugopal, “This dispute about law is concerned, its colonial law, meant to suppress freedom movement, used by British to silence Mahatma Gandhi, etc. still is it necessary after 75 years of independence?” When Venugopal said that the issue has to be decided, CJI Ramana said, ” I’m indicating what I am thinking.”

BJP-led governments across India have had to face criticism for implicating people critical of their policies under the sedition law. Once arrested under the sedition law, people have been forced to languish behind bars without any trial for months.

In the latest example, the Haryana Police have booked 100 farmers for allegedly attacking the official car of the state’s Deputy Speaker, Ranbir Gangwa. The alleged incident took place in Sirsa district on 11 July.

Gangwa had to face the ire of protesting farmers. While he escaped unhurt, the windshield of his car was damaged during the alleged attack.