20 April 2012

Alert

IFJ welcomes quashing of sedition charges in Gujarat state


Incident details

Charges dismissed

Bharat Desai, Journalist
Prashant Dayal, Journalist
(IFJ/IFEX) - April 19, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliates welcome the quashing of sedition charges brought against two journalists and the Times of India daily newspaper in Ahmedabad city in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

A criminal complaint was filed in June 2008 by O.P. Mathur, then police commissioner of Ahmedabad, against Bharat Desai and Prashant Dayal, journalists with the city edition of the Times of India. This followed the publication of a series of reports in the newspaper questioning Mathur's appointment to the post and laying out some issues in his service record which were likely to impede his effectiveness.

The newspaper also ran an opinion poll which revealed a high degree of reader scepticism about Mathur's appointment to the top police post in the city.

In quashing the charges of sedition, the Ahmedabad High Court held that the intent of the articles in question was to inform and to elicit reader opinions, not to incite disaffection of violence.

India's Supreme Court held as far back as 1962, that the sedition clauses of the penal code were contrary to the fundamental rights provisions of the constitution, unless invoked to deal with imminent threats of violence.

"We welcome this decision by the Indian court and call for a degree of urgency in dealing with other cases that victimise journalists under laws such as the Official Secrets Act", said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

"We call for an emphatic affirmation, similar to that given by the Ahmedabad High Court, of the fundamental rights to speak and seek information".

Source:

Putting free expression issues in perspective.

Sign up to receive IFEX In Context.

India

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
More from India
  • India: Pursuing truth in the face of intolerance

    PEN International's freedom of expression report on India

  • Freedom on the Net 2017: India

    The Supreme Court recognized privacy as a fundamental right in a landmark ruling in August 2017

  • Freedom of the Press 2017: India

    In May, the Supreme Court ruled to retain criminal defamation, despite calls for decriminalization.


At this point, would publish: "Home page"
At this point, would publish: "Two journalists named in police commissioner's sedition complaint against newspaper"
At this point, would publish: "Daily facing "sedition" and "conspiracy" charges"
 
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.