On Wednesday, the Supreme Court rejected a petition against the former Jammu & Kashmir CM, Farooq Abdullah for his comments on the scrapping Article 370. The apex court stated that having views different from the government is not seditious at all.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sanjay Kishan Kaul pronounced the judgment, dismissing the plea, which observed, “The expression of a view that is different from that of the government cannot be termed seditious.” The bench also directed the petitioners to deposit ₹50,000 for filing the petition.
The petitioners, Neh Srivastava and Rajat Sharma had taken exception to the comments of the chief of the National Conference (NC) on the Central government’s 2019 decision to scrap Article 370 which bestowed the special status on the erstwhile state of J&K.
The petition also demanded nullifying Abdullah’s membership of Parliament and slapped sedition charges on him under Section 124-A of IPC.
In 2020, during a television interview, Abdullah had said that he wished that Article 370 of the Constitution will be restored with the support of China as he stated, “As far as China is concerned, I didn’t bring (the) Chinese president here. Our Prime Minister invited him to Gujarat and even did jhoola sawari with him. He [PM Modi] even took him to Chennai and had food with him.”
However, the National Conference has denied that he made any such comments. “Our leader never said that Article 370 will be restored with the help of China, which was claimed by BJP leader Shambit Patra at a press conference. He also presented some earlier statements of Mr. Farooq Abdullah in a wrong manner,” said an NC spokesperson.