New Delhi13 hours ago
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In June 2020, Erandro was charged with sedition by the state police over a Facebook post.
The Supreme Court has given a big decision on Monday in the case of arrest under the Sedition Law. The court has ordered the release of political activist Erandro Leichombam, arrested in Manipur, by 5 pm today. Erandro was arrested after his Facebook post, in which he said that cow dung and urine will not cure corona.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said in the court that the hearing of the case should be postponed till Tuesday, but the justice ordered immediate release. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said, “Continuing detention of the petitioner would amount to a violation of the right to personal liberty and liberty under Article 21”. We order their release on a personal bond of Rs 1,000 by 5 pm today.
Commented on Manipur BJP President’s death
His father’s petition was filed for the release of Erandro. The activist, along with journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem, was arrested for commenting on the death of then state BJP president Saikhom Tikendra Singh. Manipur BJP vice-president Usham Deban and general secretary P Premanand Meitei had filed a complaint against him. He had called Leichombam’s post objectionable.
There was also a controversy over the photo of the activist.
Earlier in June 2020, Erandro was charged with sedition by the state police over a Facebook post. The post had a picture of Rajya Sabha MP Sanajoba Leishemba with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The picture, captioned as Minai Macha, showed the Manipur king bowing before the senior BJP leader with folded hands. Minai Macha means ‘son of a servant’ in the native language of Manipur.
Supreme Court raises concern over misuse of sedition law
The Supreme Court had a few days ago expressed concern over the misuse of the sedition law. The court said, ‘The British used this law to silence Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and other freedom fighters. If we look at the current figures, the conviction rate under this is low. In such a situation, does the government feel the need for it even after 75 years of independence? Continuation of such laws is unfortunate.
What is Section 124-A of IPC?
Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code or Indian Penal Code (IPC) mentions the punishment of sedition. But how to know whether a person has committed treason or not? On this, four sources of sedition have been mentioned in the law – spoken word, written word, sign or cartoon, poster or presentation in any other way. If convicted, the punishment may be imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. The maximum punishment is life imprisonment.
This section is accompanied by three explanations. Discontent includes all feelings of treason and enmity. The second and third explanation says that any person can comment on the decisions or measures of the government, but there should not be any disrespect or hatred. If you said that this government is good but vaccine policy is bad, then it is not sedition. But if you just write or say that the government’s vaccine policy is bad, then it can become sedition. Recent examples have turned out to be similar.