Don't use sedition to 'quieten disquiet;' says Delhi court while granting bail to two men accused of sharing fake video

A Delhi court has said the law of sedition cannot be invoked to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling miscreants.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana made the observation while granting bail to two persons — Devi Lal Burdak and Swaroop Ram — arrested by Delhi Police earlier this month for alleged sedition and spreading rumours by posting a fake video on Facebook during ongoing farmers' protest.

The court said that the law of sedition is a powerful tool in the hands of the State to maintain peace and order in society.

“However, it cannot be invoked to quieten the disquiet under the pretence of muzzling the miscreants. Evidently, law proscribes any act which has a tendency to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence," the judge said in an order passed on 15 February, as reported by PTI.

“In the absence of any exhortation, call, incitement or instigation to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence or any allusion or oblique remark or even any hint towards this objective, attributable to the accused, I suspect that Section 124 A (sedition) IPC can be validly invoked against the applicant,” the order said.

The Delhi Police have alleged that Burdak and Ram posted a fake video on their Facebook pages. Burdak was alleged to have posted a video with the tagline, "Delhi Police mein bagawat; 200 policekarmiyon ne diya samuhik istifa" (There has been a rebellion in the Delhi Police; 200 personnel have resigned en masse.)

The prosecution claimed that the “video was related to an incident wherein some persons in khaki (Home Guard personnel) were agitating in respect of their grievances with Jharkhand government", according to a report in The Indian Express.

Ram is also alleged to have posted another video with a similar tagline and with some additional slogans such as like “Jai Jawaan Jai Kisan” and “# I_Support_ Rakesh_ Tikait_ Challenge”. However, the police claimed that the video pertained to an “incident wherein a senior officer of Delhi Police was briefing police personnel at a protest site and also encouraging them to tackle the situation properly”, as reported by The Print.

Burdak and Ram have been in judicial custody since 4 and 5 February respectively.

The court, in its order, noted that according to the investigating officer, Ram is not the author of the post, but had merely forwarded it.

The judge further observed that while the allegation against the two for spreading rumours “seems to bear force”, that offence is bailable.

With inputs from PTI



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