Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil today said the decision on withdrawing charges against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi would be taken after the investigation was over.
Patil told reporters here that he had asked Mumbai police commissioner to find out what action could be taken against the cartoonist,who was arrested for allegedly objectionable cartoons of the national emblem and the Parliament.
“Action will be taken in accordance with the existing laws. There will be no discrimination,” he said.
The Home Minister also added that it was the investigating agency which had pressed sedition charges against Trivedi,and not the state government. Nor was the government under any pressure,and police too were not putting pressure on Trivedi to seek bail,Patil said.
Meanwhile,state Congress president Manikrao Thakre said a strict punishment should be awarded to Trivedi. Saying that he did not want to comment on application of sedition section,Thakre said all existing laws should be examined to book Trivedi.
International press body condemns cartoonist Aseem’s arrest
IPI,an international organisation of editors committed to the freedom of the press,today condemned the arrest of a political cartoonist in India on charges of sedition over his anti-corruption cartoons.
N Ravi,the chairperson of the International Press Institute’s Indian national committee,said the police action against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi based on a private complaint was “outrageous”.
“It was ironic that when the cartoonist was seeking to depict how the criminal and the corrupt were desecrating the national symbols,he himself should be charged with desecrating them,” Ravi,also the member of IPI’s Executive Board,said.
He said the basic thrust of the meeting cartoons was to mock at the “pretentions” of politicians and bureaucrats.
While one may disagree with the message or mode of depiction,he said,there is certainly no cause for regarding them as criminal acts.
He quoted the Supreme Court which approved the position that such acts must be judged from the standpoint of reasonable,strong-minded,firm and courageous men,and not those of weak and vacillating minds nor,of those who scent danger in every hostile point of view.
“It is shocking that in cases like this involving basic freedom,the police should act mechanically on a complaint and arrest the cartoonist,ignoring the law as laid down by the courts,” Ravi said.
IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said the organisation was “gravely” concerned that a cartoonist has been imprisoned on charges of sedition.
“In any healthy democracy,all media must enjoy the right to criticise and lampoon public officials and corruption,and we consider the continued detention of Trivedi to be a breach of press freedom and a blow to Indian democratic principles,” Mills said.
Police must give reasons for Aseem Trivedi’s custody: HC
The Bombay High Court today said it would order the release of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on bail if the police fail to provide sufficient ground for his custody.
A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Nitin Jamdar has,however,given an hour’s time to the police to seek instructions from higher authorities on whether his custody is required.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Sanskar Marathe claiming that Trivedi’s arrest and slapping of sedition charges against him was illegal and unjustified.
The petitioner has sought Trivedi’s release from jail.
Trivedi was arrested on Saturday for his cartoons which allegedly depicted the national emblem and parliament in a bad light. Trivedi is now in judicial custody after the police yesterday surrendered their custody of the cartoonist.
Drop sedition law from penal code,demands Mumbai Press Club
Condemning the sedition charge against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi,the Mumbai Press Club today demanded that the section of sedition must be dropped from the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Daring the government to file sedition cases against them,film maker Mahesh Bhatt,India Against Corruption (IAC) member Mayank Gandhi,and senior journalist Gurbir Singh posed holding printouts of Trivedi’s cartoons.
Justice (Retd.) Hosbet Suresh said that the law on sedition is a British act and compared it to draconian laws like TADA. “This law is outdated and it has to be scrapped,” Justice Suresh said.
The law of sedition enacted during the British era has been scrapped even in England,though it has been retained in India,Suresh said.
India Against Corruption (IAC) member Mayank Gandhi who along with Team Anna member Arivind Kejriwal met Trivedi at the high security Arthur Road jail,said that the cartoonist has decided not to file a bail plea until the sedition charge against him is dropped.
“We will request cartoonist Trivedi to come out on bail and fight for a bigger cause to abolish sedition,” Gandhi said.
Film maker Mahesh Bhatt said that until the sedition law exists,people who are in power will always use it as a whip against the those who protest.
“Provisions of sedition should not be used against youngsters like Trivedi who intend to fight for freedom of expression and speech,” Bhatt said,adding that he also urged Trivedi to come out of jail and fight a long battle to abolish the law of sedition.