Bengaluru: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to admit a public interest litigation (PIL) questioning the sedition law imposed against the management of Shaheen School in Karnataka's Bidar.
The petition sought the quashing of an FIR registered against several persons in connection with a play, which was staged in the school on January 21, and allegedly against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The Principal District and Sessions Court in Bidar, while granting anticipatory bail to members of the school management on Tuesday, held that "opposing an enactment of an Act itself cannot be termed as sedition".
Arguing for the petitioners, advocate BT Venkatesh said, "It is only disapprobation of the laws and one may oppose, criticise or comment upon an Act of the government and freely express his or her opinion upon it, but it cannot be treated as sedition and hence, it is contended that Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not made out."
The court observed that "on plain reading of the contents of the extracts, which were used by children in the drama, it is found that, through the drama, he (petitioner) has protested against the CAA and NRC (National Register of Citizens) and the drama has been played in the school function. The extracted portion is only offensive part as per case of prosecution. But the dialogue, if read as a whole, no where they make out sedition against the government and as such, ingredients of Section 124-A of IPC are not prima facie made out".
The bench of Justice Managoli Premavathi also found the other charges imposed against the school — Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) — were not constituted.
Petitioner Abdul Quader, president of Shaheen Educational Society, was granted anticipatory bail on execution of a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh with three sureties. The sedition case is likely to come up at the Kalaburgi Bench of the Karnataka High Court next week.