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Court asks police to explain sedition charges

The Bombay High Court Friday said it will create a framework on slapping a sedition charge in future as it heard a public interest litigation (PIL) against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who has been charged under it, a lawyer said.

A division bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Amjad Sayyed stated that they intend to lay down certain parameters for application of the law of sedition.

‘The court observed that police will, in a report, have to explain how Trivedi was charged with sedition,’ Trivedi’s lawyer Mihir Desai said.

The court noted that in the absence of parameters for application of the law, there might be ‘serious encroachment of a person’s liberties guaranteed to him in a civil society’.

It asked police to file a comprehensive affidavit by 12 October, and explain the grounds on which the charge of sedition was applied.

The court rapped Mumbai police for arresting Trivedi on ‘frivolous’ grounds and added that the action breached his freedom of speech and expression.

‘The court asked police as to how they can arrest people on frivolous grounds. The court said that arresting a cartoonist is a breach of his liberty of freedom of speech and expression,’ Desai said.

Desai also said that he will file a plea seeking to quash the case on the next date of hearing, 12 October.
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