After dismissing all the charges against the Tablighi Jamaat and then getting bail for Dr. Kafeel Khan, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has now made important remarks about the case registered in the name of treason. The High Court has said that merely making derogatory remarks will not be sufficient to impose a case of treason.

This remark of the J&K High Court comes at a time when the debate is on in the country’s largest court to ban social media. During the hearing in a case, the Central Government itself has said in the Supreme Court that social media should be controlled.

What was the matter?

A chosen counselor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) made a comment on social media in view of the increasing tension along the India-China border. In a 6-minute viral audio tape, counselor Zakir Hussain was heard using derogatory words for leaders in high positions in Indian politics.

After the viral audio surfaced, in June the police arrested the counselor under severe sections of the IPC like sedition, spreading hatred between two communities, blaming national integrity. He took refuge in the J&K High Court after his bail was dismissed from the lower court. The High Court has currently ordered him released on bail.

The High Court, while ordering bail, said that mere making derogatory remarks does not become an offense under criminal sections like treason or spreading hatred between two communities. The High Court held that criminal clauses such as treason or incitement of hatred between the two communities required that what the words were written or said was the real motive and how it has disturbed or disturbed the peace system.

However, the court also said that it was too early to give any comment on the conversation given to the court and uploaded on social media until it is proved that the said things were done for the purpose of disturbing the peace. However, the court said that when the trial court decides the charges in the case, then these things need to be looked into.

Cases for registering treason increased

If you look at the statistics of National Crime Records Bureau, in 2014, while 47 cases of sedition were reported in the country, the number of cases registered in the year 2018 increased to 70. Earlier, in 2015, this figure was increased to 30 in 2016, 35 in 2016 and 51 in 2017. But looking at the states, the cases of sedition in Assam, Jharkhand, Haryana and Bihar were half the number of cases registered in the country. Between 2014-2018, 37 cases were registered in Assam and Jharkhand.

Treason against the CAA Protesters

In January this year, a case of sedition was registered against 3000 people who staged a sit-in against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), while around 3300 farmers who were protesting against land laws were also booked under sedition. The list also includes journalist Vinod Dua and a 14-year-old girl accused of treason for calling Pakistan Zindabad in Bengaluru. However, it is also shocking that since the year 2016, only 4 people have been able to prove the charge of police sedition before the court.

What did the supreme court say

The Constitutional Bench of 7 judges of the Supreme Court in its order had said that the element of promoting violence should be present in the case of treason. Mere sloganeering does not come under the purview of treason. In the case of Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab, the Supreme Court also said in 1995 that mere sloganeering is not treason. Two people had raised slogans in favor of Khalistan’s demand at that time and the Supreme Court refused to consider it as treason.

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