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DISHA RAVI TOOLKIT CASE : WAS IT SEDITIOUS?

Author: Shubham Ranjan, II year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from School Of Law, Bennett University, The Times of India Group


Background of the issue

Disha Ravi is an environmental activist who holds a degree of Bachelor in Business Administration from a college in Bengaluru. The 21-year-old environment extremist is likewise one of the establishing individuals from a gathering named 'Fridays For Future India'.[1]


The capture of a 21-year-old environment dissident for her supposed association with her inclusion in the Greta Thunberg tool compartment case has started cross country shock. The environment lobbyist was captured from her home in North Bengaluru on Saturday for purportedly imparting to Greta Thunberg the "tool stash" identified with the rancher's dissent against the Center's three homestead laws. The Delhi Police alleged that Disha Ravi was an editorial manager of the "toolbox Google doc" and "key plotter" in the record's plan and spread. Police likewise claimed that Disha Ravi and others "teamed up with supportive of Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation to spread alienation against the Indian State."


The Delhi Police claimed in a tweet that she was the person who was alleged to have shared the toolbox with Greta Thunberg. Greta Thunberg is a Sweden based adolescent environment extremist who had shared the "toolkit" in support of the farmers protest against the three homestead change laws. In the record, different instant activities, including making a Twitter storm and fighting external Indian embassies all across the globe, were recorded which should have been taken to help the farmers protest. The toolkit has been referred to by certain pundits as "confirmation" of her intrigue to fuel synchronous protests all across the country. Disha Ravi was presented before the watchful eyes of a Delhi court on the fourteenth day of February 2020 and was granted remand for police custody for five days. The police argued in the court that Disha’s remand was the need of the hour as they are predicting a bigger intrigue against the Government of India and to discover her active roles and connections with the Khalistan movement. The case against Disha and the co-accused, a Mumbai based lawyer, Nikita Jacob and Pune based Engineer Shantanu Muluk has been lodged under sections 124(a) (Sedition), 153(a) which is for the promotion of enmity among various groups and 120(b) which is for Criminal Conspiracy of the Indian penal code.




What Is Sedition?

If some individual lures people of the country to rebel against the state authorities through his or her Acts or Speeches is considered to be a Seditious act. As in the present case, the accused have also been charged under this section. If we proceed further with the definition of the Sedition Law Under Section 124A of the Indian 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 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.”[3]


Therefore, the Delhi Police claims that the arrest of the accused is lawful as they intended to excite a feeling of disaffection against the “Government Established by the Law”. It can be inferred that this Law has been used as a tool by various Governments against the critics of the Government and it is also expected to be the same in this case as well. The Britishers brought this act in the nineteenth century to Crush the rebellions and revolts against the Crown and the Government of the United Kingdom and the same law has been copied in our system as well. However, when the Indian Penal Code was written in the year 1861, this section was not included there and this is the reason why it is being written as section 124A, not 124. It was after the Wahabi revolt after which this section got added to the IPC. This Law was used for the first time in the year 1897 against Bal Gangadhar Tilak as he was alleged to have written against the British Raj at that time. Later, during the freedom struggle, it was used against many freedom fighters irrespective of the amount of violence they used at that point of time, in fact even after Mahatma Gandhi due to his critical writings against the Britishers. The validity of this law has also been challenged several times. Immediately after the Independence in 1951, the Punjab High Court gave a judgement declaring this Law to be Unconstitutional as it was considered by the court to be violative of Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution Of India.


There was an appeal filed in the Apex Court and by a Constitutional bench, this Provision was upheld in the year 1962. The case was Kedarnath Singh vs. State of Bihar[4] where the court looked into the matter as to whether this Law is synchronous to the fundamental right to speech and expression under Article 19 (1)(a)[5]. Here in this case the Supreme Court gave directions that “every citizen of the country owns a right to speech either written or spoken against the Government till the extent it does not“ intice people to violence” against a lawfully assigned government. Though the Judgement upheld the Constitutionality of the Law, still the application of the law has been limited to “acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder, or disturbance of law and order, or incitement to violence.” Here, concerning the Disha Ravi Case as of now, there is no sign or representation which would state their acts Seditious according to the freedom of Speech and Expression.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, over the years this law has been used as a tool to harass the critics of the Government. If we go with some facts then the Jharkhand Government has accused more than ten thousand farmers belonging to the tribal communities of land acquisition projects.

Reference

[1] India Today, https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/disha-ravi-climate-activist-arrest-greta-thunberg-toolkit-case- profile-1769335-2021-

[2] Image- The Hindu

[3] Indian Penal Code,1860(36)

[4] Manupatra

[5] Constitution Of India by Pm Bakshi(58)