Gujarat High Court: Deciding on an application wherein the applicants have prayed for quashing of FIR filed against the applicant for commission of offences of sedition punishable under Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), waging of war punishable under Section 121 of the IPC, hatching conspiracy to commit offence punishable under Section 121-A of the IPC, and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc. punishable under Section 153-A of the IPC, a bench of J.B.Pardiwala J. quashed the FIR so far as the offences punishable Sections 121, 153-A are concerned and allowed for investigation in accordance with law so far as the offence punishable under Sections 124-A and 121-A is concerned
According to the facts, about four months back, there was a strong and violent agitation going on in the State of Gujarat as regards the reservation for the members of the Patidar Patel Community. The applicant accused in the FIR was the Convener of a committee known as the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti who declared bandhs, convened public meetings and various other programmes as a part of the agitation. Riots also broke out, in which extensive damage was caused by the members of the organization and others to the public property. It is the case of the prosecution that the applicants herein have committed the offences of sedition, waging of war punishable, hatching conspiracy to commit offence punishable under Section 121-A of the IPC, and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc. punishable under Section 153-A of the IPC.
B.M. Mangukiya, the learned counsel appearing for the applicants contended that lodging the FIR was a mala fide act and agitation for reservation would not constitute the offence of sedition. He further submitted that mere violent activities, like torching public transport buses, police stations, etc. by itself, would not amount to waging war against the Government. While, Mitesh Amin, the learned Public Prosecutor, opposed the application and submitted that organizing or joining an insurrection against the Government of Gujarat is also a form of war.
After perusal of the arguments, the Court held that a prima facie case is made out for the offence of sedition. The Court further observed relying on the standard laid by the Supreme Court in State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru, (2005) 11 SCC 600 and Jamiludin Nasir vs. State of West Bengal, (2014) 7 SCC 443, that it is difficult to hold whether there has been a conspiracy to wage war against the Government of Gujarat, or that there are the necessary elements in this case to constitute the offence of waging war against the Government of Gujarat. Accordingly the Court concluded that the basic ingredients to constitute the offence of “waging war” punishable under section 121 of the IPC are lacking but a prima facie case of conspiracy to overawe by means of criminal force is made out. [Hardik Bharatbhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, special criminal application (quashing) no. 6330 of 2015, decided on 01.12.2015]
Source: Legal news India