The Delhi Police, in an action taken report (ATR) on complaints seeking the charge of sedition against Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, told a Delhi court Thursday that “mere uttering a derogatory word, without more overt act, against PM of India did not constitute an offence under IPC sections 124-A/153-A”.
While Section 124-A relates to sedition, Section 153-A is about promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
Seeking dismissal of the complaint as “no cognizable offence is made out” from its contents, police said it will abide by the court’s direction. The ATR was filed in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhara Azad.
Advocate Ajay Agarwal had filed two complaints against Aiyar before the court. In one complaint, he accused Aiyar of calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “neech aadmi” before the 2017 Gujarat elections, allegedly to influence voters and incite hatred. He also alleged that Aiyar made several comments against the Indian government while on a tour of Pakistan.
In a separate complaint, Agarwal alleged that Aiyar held a meeting at his residence where he hosted dignitaries that included former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Vice President Hamid Ansari, the Pakistan High Commissioner and a former Pakistan Foreign Minister. In his complaint, Agarwal alleged that the meeting took place without permission of the authorities concerned, broke protocol and those present conspired against India.
The Crime Branch of Delhi Police, which was asked to investigate the complaints, was directed by the court to file an ATR in the matter.
Seeking dismissal of the plea filed by Agarwal, the police, in its ATR, said “it is submitted that breaking protocol, if any, does not attract any penal provision under IPC or any other local & special law”.
On the matter alleging conspiracy against India by those present, police said “the complainant is only assuming this and no such evidence has come on record to show the conspiracy till now”.
Police also cited a 1995 Supreme Court judgment — Balwant Singh & Another Vs State of Punjab — to explain why Aiyar’s comments did not constitute the offence of sedition.
The court has set December 16 for arguments on the status report filed by police.
Agarwal later said: “From the ATR, it appears as if the Delhi Police is acting as the defence counsel of Mani Shankar Aiyar. I will contest the report filed by police which is totally devoid of any merit.”