The case against Aman Chopra involved allegedly promoting enmity between groups.
The third case against journalist Aman Chopra was put on hold by the Rajasthan High Court today following the Supreme Court’s decision on the sedition law. The Jodhpur bench of the High Court took the decision on basis of the top court’s interim order that all cases under the sedition law be put on hold and no fresh cases filed anywhere till the Centre reviews the contentious British-era law.
The Rajasthan High Court had put the arrest of the Noida-based journalist on hold yesterday and a further hearing was listed for today.
In its order today, the Jodhpur bench said, “Learned Senior Counsel Mr. Luthra and Mr. Bhandari, inform the Court that Hon’ble the Supreme Court, while hearing the matters relating to ‘sedition’… has passed an interim order directing the Centre/State Government to refrain from registering any FIRs under Section 124-A of Indian Penal Code and keep all pending matters in abeyance during the period that Section 124-A of IPC is being reconsidered”.
“This Court is of the view that the investigation, including petitioner’s interrogation, is necessary before reaching any concrete conclusion regarding commission of offences alleged against the petitioner,” the bench said.
“The petitioner is, therefore, directed to appear before the Investigating Officer, Police Station Bichhiwada, District Dungarpur, on 16.05.2022 at 11.00 am,” the order from Justice Dinesh Mehta read.
Mr Chopra had already obtained a stay on his arrest from the Jaipur bench in cases registered against him in Bundi and Alwar districts. He, however, faced arrest in connection with the similar case filed in Dungarpur.
The cases were filed against Mr Chopra following a television debate on the demolition of a temple by civic authorities in Rajasthan’s Alwar district.
He was accused of promoting enmity between different groups and hurting religious sentiments. He was also accused of sedition.
On Sunday, a team of Rajasthan Police went to Noida in Uttar Pradesh to arrest Mr Chopra but found found his residence locked. They have been camping there since.
In a landmark decision today, the Supreme Court said No new FIRs will be filed for sedition and all pending cases will be put on hold while the government reconsiders the law. The sudden change of stance, the government said, came after intervention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who expressed his clear and unequivocal views in favour of the protection of civil liberties, respect for human rights and giving meaning to constitutional freedoms.
In an interview to news agency ANI, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “Prime Minister has asked for re-examining and reconsidering the provision of the sedition law. PM had urged to remove obsolete law so that sedition also becomes part of it. We will modify the law according to the need of the hour. We don’t believe in misusing the laws or any provisions of the law.”
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