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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Union plea against sedition case against Sirsa farmers dismissed by HC

‘Accused are not the petitioners; petition not filed in public interest’

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
August 4, 2021 2:56:25 pm
On July 11, an FIR had been lodged against 100 farmers on sedition and other charges, for allegedly attacking the convoy of Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa. (File photo)

THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court, which had recently dismissed a plea by a Haryana farmers union that challenged the sedition section of IPC and sought quashing of sedition and attempt to murder sections invoked against farmers in Sirsa on July 11, has held that “the persons against whom FIR has been registered are not the petitioners before this court, and the petition has not been filed in public interest”.

On July 11, an FIR had been lodged against 100 farmers on sedition and other charges, for allegedly attacking the convoy of Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Ranbir Gangwa.

On July 30, the division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli had dismissed the petition of the Haryana Progressive Farmers Union that had challenged the constitutional validity of the sedition law in the wake of registration of the case.

The division bench held: “…the persons against whom the FIR has been registered are not the petitioners before this court. There is nothing on record to indicate that the said persons have authorised the petitioner to act on their behalf. The petition has not been filed in public interest either.”

It added: “…the petitioner — Haryana Progressive Farmers Union — is alleged to be a group of advocates formed by farmers of various districts in Haryana for the welfare of farmers, whereas the resolution dated May 5, 2019 (Annexure P-1), reveals that a public charitable trust (Sabka Mangal Ho) purports to have formed the Haryana Progressive Farmers Union “as an advocacy group of the Trust”. Thus, the petitioner, as such, is no entity in law and for lack of requisite material, we cannot fathom as to how this petition would even be maintainable…so far as the constitutional validity of Section 124-A is concerned, the same has already been upheld by a seven-judge bench of SC in the case of Kedar Nath Singh vs State of Bihar 1962 AIR 955.”

Satya Pal Jain, additional solicitor general of India, as well as Deepak Balyan, additional advocate general, Haryana, submitted that writ petitions have been filed before SC in which the constitutional validity of Section 124 A (sedition) of IPC has been challenged and the same are pending before Supreme Court. The HC thus held that, “…we are choiceless, but to dismiss the petition.”

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