The Government of a secular country XYZ passes a law that is perceived to be highly communalizing and against the ethos of XYZ. This leads to a lot of protests on the streets.
Robin got highly emotional and gave a speech at a protest that came under the scanner of the law-enforcement. The major points of his speech, which got viral on social medias are –
i. I propose for a chakka-jaam so big that it will cut-off communications between the Government and the border state of ABC (the state which will be most affected by the law). Only then will the Government understand our demands, otherwise this Government won’t care a bit for the citizen’s problems.
ii. We should cut the railway tracks and roads, burn down government buildings so that it takes them (the government) at least a month to clear things on the ground. It is our responsibility to isolate ABC.
iii. This is important that we oppose this law productively. It is bad for both Hindus and Muslims.
Article 19(2) of the nation’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all citizens of India. This article is subjected to certain restrictions, namely, sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
As per Section 124A of the nation’s Penal Code- Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in XYZ shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
Citing these laws, Robin was arrested by the authorities on charges of sedition, which stopped any violence breaking out due to inspiration from his speech.
1.1. Are the authorities correct in charging him of sedition over his speech?
(a) Yes, the action taken by the authorities is as per the Article 19(2) of the Constitution
(b) Yes, the action taken by the authorities is as per the Section 124A of the nation’s Penal Code
(c) No, according to Article 19(2), Robin was just exercising his right to free speech
(d) Both (a) and (b) but not (c)
1.2. The lawyers of Robin brought forth a Supreme Court judgement where it said, “disloyalty to Government established by law is not the same thing as commenting in strong terms upon the measures or acts of Government, or its agencies, so as to ameliorate the condition of the people or to secure the cancellation or alteration of those acts or measures by lawful means”. Should the lawyers of Robin ask the Supreme Court to follow this judgement as rule of precedent and acquit Robin?
(a) Yes, Robin in his speech mentions that what he proposes it for the benefit of the Hindus and Muslims, thus he wants to ameliorate the condition of the people
(b) Yes, Robin doesn’t advocate riots or violence against civilians in his speeches and these methods were used by the freedom-fighters of XYZ when it was under colonial rule
(c) No, Robin’s speech didn’t suggest non-violent methods to be followed by the protestors
(d) Yes, the motive of the speech is only to protest against the law brought by the Government and not the removal of the Government itself
1.3. The prosecution made reference to a case in 2012, where a cartoonist Saurabh was charged with sedition by the Government for picturising a cartoon where the Parliament was depicted as a lavatory. He had done this to protest against the corruption of the then Government. The charge was however, dropped by the Government on their discretion. Does this strengthen the prosecution’s case in hand?
(a) No, Saurabh’s case is of pictorial depiction, while Robin’s case is of speech; so, the cases are very different
(b) No, since the charges were dropped by the Government; this will actually weaken the prosecution’s argument
(c) Yes, both are forms of expression, so this will actually strengthen the prosecution’s case
(d) Both (a) and (b)
1.4. Was the Government correct in its action of charging Saurabh with sedition as mentioned in the previous question?
(a) No, his pictures didn’t incite or recommend violence against the State
(b) No, it was his right of expression and he was just exercising the right
(c) Yes, as per the limitation to Article 19(2), it was an indecent depiction of a national symbol of India
(d) Both (a) and (b), but not (c)
1.5. If the Supreme Court gives the following judgement “Subversion of the government is an offence, however criticisms of its actions is not. Inciting violence against the state is a crime, but expressing a non-violent opinion is a democratic right”, then which of the following will not be an ideal way of protesting?
(a) Sitting in a mass-hunger strike
(b) Holding protest-marches
(c) Using loudspeakers to tell the masses about the shortcomings of the Government’s decisions
(d) Singing songs whose lyrics motivates people to topple the Government by force