The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation petition, which sought guidelines for registration of criminal cases for sedition under Section 124A Indian Penal Code.
The petition was filed by activist Yogita Bhayana, in the wake of recurring instances of sedition FIRs, particularly the recent case registered against the headmistress and parent of a student in Shaheen School in Bidar, Karnataka in respect of a school play staged against CAA.
"Let the aggrieved party come before the Court", said the bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari.
The petitioner said that despite several rulings of the SC explaining the narrow ambit of Section 124A IPC, police officials were registering FIRs for sedition even for airing genuine criticism against the establishment.
The petition stated that the Constitution of India guarantees freedom of speech and expression, which included the right to express oneself through one's own convictions. It has been averred that this includes freedom of expression in the form of conducting a play.
It specifically avers as one of its grounds that,
"despite well settled principle of law and the judgments of this Hon'ble Court, the Karnataka Police failed to distinguish between an academic discourse/ artistic endeavor and the serious criminal act of sedition registered a seidition case against a school for a play criticizing the CAA-NRC-NPR and arrested school teachers and a widowed mother of a student"
The Petition further contended that the direct corollary of imposing sedition charges for organizing a play, (which criticizes a law) shall be antithetical to Article 21 of the Constitution.