What is the News?
Supreme Court of India has quashed the FIR lodged against a senior journalist for sedition charge and other offences. In that, the court held that the Journalists need protection against sedition charges.
What was the case?
- A sedition case was filed against a senior journalist over his YouTube show where he had criticized the Prime Minister and the Union Government.
- The journalist approached the Supreme Court seeking the quashing of the FIR. He told the Supreme Court that criticism of the government was not in itself seditious unless it instigated the violence.
What did the Court say?
- The Supreme Court invalidated the sedition case registered against the journalist.
- Criticism & disapproval doesn’t amount to sedition: The court said that strong words of disapproval about the ruling government is not sedition.
- Moreover, mere criticism of governments is not sufficient to constitute sedition. Honest and reasonable criticism is a source of strength to a community rather than a weakness.
- The Court also referred to the 1962 Kedar Nath Singh verdict and said that under it every journalist is entitled to protection from sedition charges.
Kedar Nath Singh Judgment,1962
- In Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (1962), the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the sedition law.
- The Court said that sedition is a reasonable restriction on free speech as provided in Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
- However, the court made it clear that a citizen has the right to say or write whatever she/he likes about the government or its measures.
- But this is only as long as s/he does not incite people to violence against the government and not do things with the intention of creating public disorder.
Source: The Hindu