Bengaluru/Chandigarh: A court order directing the closing of a sedition case filed against Amnesty India brings an end to a disgraceful attempt to stifle freedom of expression, the organization said today.
On 8 January, a trial court in Bengaluru ordered that the case filed against Amnesty India on 15 August 2016, on the basis of a complaint filed by a representative of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), be closed.
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“This was a case that should never have been registered, given previous Supreme Court rulings on what constitutes sedition. It has been a waste of public money and resources, and a distraction from real issues,” said Aakar Patel of Amnesty India.
“The ruling vindicates everything that Amnesty India has said from the time this politically motivated complaint was filed.”
The complaint related to an event that Amnesty India had conducted as part of a campaign to seek justice for human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The First Information Report in the case mentioned a number of offences, including ‘sedition’, ‘unlawful assembly’, ‘rioting’ and ‘promoting enmity’.
The trial court stated that it accepted a closure report filed by the Bengaluru city police in July 2017, stating that it had not found any evidence that the offences had been committed. “We were branded ‘anti-national’ and criminalized simply for seeking justice for human rights violations,” said Aakar Patel. “Our mission is to fight to defend the constitutional values of justice, equality and liberty for everyone in India, and we will not be cowed by those seeking to silence us.
“We will also continue to seek the repeal of India’s archaic sedition law, which is still used to harass and persecute human rights defenders.”