JNU case isn’t one of sedition: Former SC judge who delivered defining verdict

Slamming Delhi Police Commission B S Bassi for “saying one thing today and another tomorrow,’’ the judge asks, “Is the law like that. The accuser has to prove the guilt.’’

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Published:February 25, 2016 4:31 am
Justice Faizanuddin, jnu protest, jnu sedition, jnu kanhaiya kumar, kanhaiya kumar arrest, jnu protests news, india news, jnu protests Balwant Singh, Justice Faizanuddin

“The case against Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar does not amount to sedition. India is the largest democracy in the world. Something or the other is said every day in some corner of the vast country. Are we to be affected by this? What is going to happen to us by mere raising of slogans? I find it laughable.”

That’s former Supreme Court judge Justice Faizanuddin, who, in 1995, along with Justice A S Anand delivered the benchmark judgment on the issue of sedition and what constitutes sedition in the Balwant Singh and another versus State of Punjab case (1995).

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Reached for his comments in view of the sharp divide over the Delhi Police’s action to book and arrest JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar for sedition, Justice Faizanuddin told The Indian Express: “Every bloody issue goes to the highest level, from the Supreme Court to Parliament. It is meaningless and yet everybody gets involved.’’

“I am an oldtimer, I have old ethics but I don’t agree with what’s happening today,” the octogenarian, who retired in 1997, said. Justice Anand could not be reached for his comments.

The ruling dealt with sedition charges against Balwant Singh and an accomplice who had raised anti-India slogans in Chandigarh within hours of Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984.

The slogans included “Khalistan Zindabad”, “Only the believer shall rule” and “we will drive Hindus out of Punjab; now is the chance to establish our rule”. The bench, while ruling that mere raising of slogans, a couple of times by two individuals, did not constitute any threat to India, observed that “..over-sensitiveness can sometime be counter-productive and can invite trouble.”

The Bench also came down heavily on the police for exhibiting “lack of maturity…in arresting the appellants for raising the slogans — which arrest -and act the casual raising of one or two slogans – could have created a law and order situation, keeping in view the tense situation prevailing on the date of the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi”.

“I will not appreciate a slogan like Pakistan Zindabad,” said Justice Faizanuddin. “Even there you can take action but the slogan itself does not amount to sedition. If people raise slogans in support of Afzal Guru or call his hanging ‘judicial killing,’ let them do so. Just because someone says it’s not going to affect the judiciary. Let people express their opinion,” adding, “Be large-hearted.”

Maintaining, the same spirit two decades later, the former Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta said, “By not ignoring such slogans (those raised on JNU campus) we have enlarged their significance. If nobody would have taken notice of the JNU issue nothing would have happened.”

Criticising what he calls “touch me not” approach, he said, “I don’t think such a narrow view should be taken. When we are living in the 21st century, why should we get troubled by such things? People talk several things.”

Appreciating the role of the judiciary, he says: “I don’t know what would have happened had the Supreme Court not been active. Everything goes to the apex court in the end. Important matters remain pending. Crores are spent on holding parliamentary sessions. Nothing constructive comes out of them.’’

He says, “Everyday I hear something a Sakshi Maharaj says, somewhere. What happens in the end? We can’t go on like that.”

He wondered what is going to be achieved by prosecuting Kanhaiya and others and wonders, “What will we lose if we ignore them?”

He says the phenomenon of (invoking sedition) is irrespective of the party or the government in power. “If there was some other government they would have taken offence to something else. Our thoughts are not clear.’’

Slamming Delhi Police Commission B S Bassi for “saying one thing today and another tomorrow,’’ the judge asks, “Is the law like that. The accuser has to prove the guilt.’’

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  1. A
    ashok sharma
    Feb 25, 2016 at 2:56 am
    dekho,,uncle aap ko news me aane k liye aapke desh k bare me bura bolna pade to aap aa skte ho ki aap AAP ho :P well ,,jo desh ka nhi wo kahi ka nhi,,n aapne sahi bola ki aap old ho chuke ho,,or old ka koi kam nhi hota hai modern duniya me,,,rest kro,,njoy ur life in peace dont put ur old opinion here,, its neither congress govt that will tolerate insult of our india nor a person a like your age time,, its now has been transformed to an patriotic india,,n i will not tolerate this if smone do that,, if u r doing then i have dounbt about ur patriotism.. aaraam kro dada ji,,aapko to ab supreme court ne bhi raay k layak nhi mana,,to hmko de rhe ho :P
    Reply
    1. A
      Ahalya bharati
      Feb 25, 2016 at 9:25 pm
      The suspect has to prove his innocence. That is new law, you old timer. Nathuram Gadse is true nationlist. Vande Maataram!!
      Reply
      1. A
        Ahalya bharati
        Feb 25, 2016 at 9:27 pm
        Nathuram Gadse is true nationalist. Vande Maataram!!
        Reply
        1. H
          Hakim
          Feb 25, 2016 at 12:39 am
          Is this a moron writing such articles
          Reply
          1. S
            Sivaramakrishnan
            Feb 25, 2016 at 12:46 pm
            In 1982 you were appointed as Permanent Judge of MP High Court.... In 1984 tragedy stuck Bhopal... Why you did not take any Sou motto action against Union Carbide??? Why were you silent???? May be you kept quiet saying "What will we lose if we ignore this?"
            Reply
            1. S
              Sivaramakrishnan
              Feb 25, 2016 at 12:40 pm
              “What will we lose if we ignore them?”.... why not practice what you preach? “Why are you questioning the actions against him?" instead of making these lengthy statements why are not ignoring the actions taken against the offenders?
              Reply
              1. R
                Ravi
                Feb 25, 2016 at 2:11 am
                Mr.Ex Justice, I am not how you are looking into to this issue, this issue is supporting a Terrorist, how can you ignore this and say we should have tolerance. It's unfortunate that everyone is targeting the Govt and supporting the Students who should explore and discuss economic and political issues but not support Terrorists in any case. Hope you know that Supreme Court given death penalty and these students are questioning and supporting Terrorists.
                Reply
                1. Y
                  Yami
                  Feb 25, 2016 at 12:34 am
                  Congress can go to any level to get backin power and are ready to break India. They are siding with antinationals
                  Reply
                  1. Y
                    Yami
                    Feb 25, 2016 at 12:35 am
                    Justice Faizzuddon is on payroll
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      alok
                      Feb 25, 2016 at 5:25 am
                      While sir is no wonder an eminent personality but can he deny the fact that kashmir issue started with similar chanting at the beginning where administration chose to behave the way he wish it to at current scenario. Same is with any riot anywhere. A spark ignores burn the house and timely sch saves nine are not said for nothing.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        A Sehgal
                        Feb 25, 2016 at 5:25 am
                        Can the learned Judge give any other act under which this should have been booked if not sedition. Police is free to use whatever act they find suitable as judiciary is free to decide which to hold and which to discard. Why is a former Judge giving his verdict when not even a single paper is in front of him. What if police has inputs of links between students and naxels or kashmiri terrorists. Every person has accepted his verdict and people were free grant same privilege to present day judiciary.
                        Reply
                        1. A
                          amiya cChatterjee
                          Feb 25, 2016 at 5:44 am
                          There is a concerted effort going on in India where the w country is going to be cut accross labeling some as " Anti National and Others Nationalist" Its a dangerous game. India Otherwise a beautifully United country in almost all issues is now Worried because of some stubborn political issues. Let me get my United India back which I earned after I fought for its independence.
                          Reply
                          1. a
                            anwarbashasheik@yahoo
                            Feb 25, 2016 at 5:56 am
                            this judgement required team of expert judge and previous all judgement considered as a case law , student to be released with some penalty clause applying and giving chance make good lief in India and act as good citizen , also consider "Freedom speech " what restricted in Indian consution explain to them
                            Reply
                            1. A
                              Arun
                              Feb 25, 2016 at 2:30 pm
                              All the UCVH (upper caste veg hindus ) do not support RSS. UCVH are just 17-18% of the Indian potion. Most of the non-veg hindus are not supporters of RSS. RSS is a minority in India and yet they rule over the remaining 80% of the potion by making false promises in 2014.
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                Arun
                                Feb 25, 2016 at 2:45 pm
                                Majority of the Hindus DO NOT ACCEPT murderer Godse as a patriot, but by most of the UCVH (upper caste veg hindus ) who are just 17-18% of the Indian potion.
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  Arun
                                  Feb 25, 2016 at 5:36 am
                                  RSS is INTOLERANT. This is the core problem in India, today.
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    Arun
                                    Feb 25, 2016 at 1:54 pm
                                    RSS is the symbol of violence in India. Hence, RSS should be banned for the 5th time for peace from unity leading to development. RSS was banned previously during the British rule,[17] and then thrice by the post-independence Indian government — first in 1948 when Nathuram Godse, a former RSS member,[23] inated Mahatma hi;[17][24][25] then during 1975–77; and after the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992. Modi himself is a RSS man. What will he do ??????
                                    Reply
                                    1. अशोक.गोविंद.शहा
                                      Feb 25, 2016 at 2:27 am
                                      vande mataram- so called intelectuals should not be blind and when the anti national slowgans are being shouted repeatedly why any mercey to the culprits and why they should not be behind bar why retired judges and legal luminaries behave and express their motivated ignorance? where is the intolearance brigade those on congress pay roll? ? jagate raho
                                      Reply
                                      1. B
                                        Balgit
                                        Feb 25, 2016 at 11:27 am
                                        I agree with the judge. Anti-nationals are those who execute communal riots, mastermind arson and destruction, bomb public places, kill innocent citizens, print fake currency, deal in black money, not pay taxes.
                                        Reply
                                        1. B
                                          Balgit
                                          Feb 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm
                                          RSS has no history of m murders? What is this. Comedy nights with Purush?
                                          Reply
                                          1. J
                                            Jai
                                            Feb 25, 2016 at 3:38 am
                                            Santosh Hegde is a former Judge who made it in the eminent jurist ( not those stoog lawyers with failed practice)category sayd this case is definitely that of sedition.....................................
                                            Reply
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