A year-wise listing of sedition cases filed under Sec 124-A, with the latest status. Reproduced with permission from the Repeal Sedition campaign.*
Jan 8, 2020, students Nalini Balakumar and S Maridevaiah, also organizer of an anti-CAA protest, charged with sedition.
Case details: Nalini was arrested for holding a placard that read ‘Free Kashmir’ at an anti-CAA protest in Mysuru. Nalini, a student of MDes in photography design at the National Institute of Design in Gandhinagar, had allegedly displayed a ‘Free Kashmir’ placard, during a protest on January 8, opposing the attack on JNU students and teachers at Manasagangotri, Mysuru, Karnataka. The protest was held by a Dalit students’ forum, Mysuru Researchers Association, Bahujan Vidyarthi Sangh, Students Federation of India and other left-Leaning student bodies under the leadership of Maridevaiah at the Manasa Gangotri campus of the university in Mysuru.
Nalini, said that she was merely drawing attention to the Internet shutdown in Kashmir. Nalini was arrested under Sec 124 (A) and Sec 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Case status : Nalini was granted anticipatory bail on Jan 27, 2020, on condition that she would not participate in any other protests. The Second Additional Disrict and Sessions court judge Jerald Rudolph Mendonca, observed that Nalini was sitting at the back while the protest was on and holding a ‘Free Kashmir’ placard. She immediately came forward to say she had made the poster.
Earlier, Nalini was granted interim bail on Jan 11 on a personal bond of Rs One lakh. However, the Mysuru Bar Association decided to bar any lawyer from appearing for her and its President, S Anand Kumar, said the association would not represent or provide legal services to anyone indulging in ‘anti-national activities’. However, more than 120 lawyers across Karnataka, filed their valakatnamas to represent Nalini.
The organizer of the protest, Marideviah, was also granted anticipatory bail.
Jan 28, 2020: Sharjeel Imam, PhD student in JNU; arrested (surrendered to Delhi police)
Brief details: Sharjeel Imam was an activist in the movement against the CitizenshipAmendment Act (CAA) and was charged with sedition case by five states for allegedly delivering two speeches on Dec 13, 2019 and January 16, 2020. In one speech, a video of which went viral, he was heard calling for Assam to be ‘cut off’ from the rest of India by having a ‘chakka jam’ at the chicken’s neck at the Siliguri corridor.
The five states in which sedition cases were lodged against him are Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Delhi.
Case status: Arrested, charge-sheet filed, trial yet to commence
Jan 30, 2020: Farida Begum, headmistress of a school and Najibunissa, the mother of a student of the school, were arrested on charges of sedition.
Case details: On the occasion of the Annual Day celebrations of Shaheen Primary and High school, students of a school staged a play based on the Citizenship Amendment Act. The play was in the Dakkini dialect of the region and the students who enacted the play were aged nine to twelve years. A video of the play with hilarious dialogues between a grandmother and a grandchild about documents to prove citizenship went viral. In one exchange, the grandchild tells the grandmother that Prime Minister Modi was asking for the documents and the grandmother responded to say she would beat anyone who asked for documents with her chappals. This exchange resulted in a complaint filed by an ABVP activist Neelesh Rakshayal and the headmistress and the parent of the student who mouthed these dialogues were arrested.
Case status: Farida Begum and Najibunissa were released on bail on February 14, following an order by Bidar District Judge Managoli Premavathi who said: “The drama shows that the children have condemned enforcement of laws. There is no other community named in the drama and all they have stated is that Muslims will have to leave the country’’. While they were in jail, Bidar police questioned 85 students (aged between 9-12) for more than five hours a day to find out who wrote the dialogues of the play and coached them. Thouseef Madikeri, CEO of Shaheen Educational Institute that runs the school, was also charged, but with
Feb 1, 2020: Kris Chudawala, TISS student, charged with sedition along with 50 others
Brief Details: Azad Maidan police in Mumbai, Maharashtra, charged around 50 persons, including TISS student Kris Chudawala, for raising slogans in favour of Sharjeel Imam in a Mumbai Pride solidarity meeting, organized by Queer Azadi Mumbai (QAM) and Humsafar Trust. Chudawala was associated with TISS Queer Collective and is a student of second-year MA in media and culture at Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS).
The meeting was held because Mumbai Police had denied permission for the annual Mumbai Pride march at the August Kranti Maidan – reportedly on the grounds that the rally would also address issues surrounding the government, the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Case status: Chudawala was granted anticipatory bail on Feb 11,2020 by Justice S K Shinde of the Bombay High Court.
Two other students also secured anticipatory bail on Feb 13, 2020.
Feb 15, 2020: Three Kashmiri students, Talib Majeed, Basit Asif Sofi and Amir Mohiuddin Wahi, were arrested in Hubli, Karnataka, for shooting an allegedly celebratory video.
Case details: The three civil engineering students at the KLE Institute of Technology in Hubli, were accused of shooting a video in their room to celebrate the Pulwama terror attack with slogans of azadi or freedom set to the song of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISI), Pakistan’s military media wing, on February 14, the first anniversary of the suicide bombing that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers. The video of their alleged celebration was widely shared on social media and the principal of the college, Basavraj Anami, suspended them pending investigation on Feb 15.
The students were arrested on Feb 15, released on a personal bond and re-arrested on Feb 16, 2020. Later, while being taken away from the court, the students were hit with shoes and slippers by members of right-wing organisations protesting against them and shouting slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram.’
Case status: Judicial Magistrate First Class Vishwanath V Mugathi granted the students default bail on June 13, 2020. On March 9, a district judge in Hubli had rejected their bail application stating that the safety and security of the country got priority. On April 16,Karnataka High Court judge Justice G Narendar, while hearing the case of sedition against three Kashmiri students, said that “prima facie, the complaint does not disclose any material which could be considered as an ingredient constituting the offence as against the petitioners”. The Hubli Distrist Bar Association President Guru Hiremath, said none of the 1600 members of the association would represent the students. A petition challenging this resolution was filed before theKarnataka High Court and a Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar stated that passing such resolutions will affect the image of the entire judiciary.
February 20, 2020, journalism student Amulya Leona, charged with sedition in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Case details: Amulya Leona, a journalism student, began her speech in a public meeting, organised under the banner “Save Constitution”, to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) with the slogan ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ but the mike was snatched from her hands and those on stage, including the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi , prevented her from speaking. Leona, who managed to say ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ five times before she was arrested, said later that she had planned to hail other countries too.
The 19-year-old student was taken into custody and her house was attacked. Her father was threatened and videos began circulating of a bounty on her killing by the Sri Ram Sene leader Sanjeev Marady. Her lawyers struggled to secure bail for her and argued that Pakistan was not an ‘enemy’ country.
Case status: Amulya secured ‘default’ bail on June 10, 2020, after one sessions court rejected her bail application, stating that she would abscond! Her lawyers moved another sessions court, which granted her a default bail, since no charge-sheet was filed within the stipulated 90 days (u/S 167 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)).
May 3, 2020: Delhi police registered a case of sedition against Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan
Case details: Delhi police registered a case of sedition against Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, the chairman of the Delhi Minority Commission, under Indian Penal Code sections 124 A (sedition) and 153 A. Dr Khan allegedly made comments on social media that were provocative, police said. In a Facebook post on April 28, Dr Khan commented about “the growing tide of Islamophobia in India” and urged the central government to take urgent steps to curb it.
Case status: Dr Khan, who is 72 years old, approached the Delhi High Court for anticipatory bail and secured protection from arrest on May 12. A single bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri said that no coercive action can be taken against Khan. On July 31, 2020, he was granted anticipatory bail.
May 6, 2020: Journalist Vinod Dua charged with sedition
Case details: An FIR was lodged against journalist Vinod Dua under provisions of the Indian Penal Code for alleged offences of sedition, public nuisance, printing defamatory materials and public mischief by BJP leader Shyam at Kumarsain police station in Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh. The complaint said that Dua made comments on the government’s mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic and levelled allegations against the prime minister in his YouTube show.
Case status: On June 3, 2021, Justices UU Lalit and Vineet Saran of the Supreme Court quashed the sedition case against him. The court also said: “Every journalist is entitled to protection under the Kedar Nath Singh judgment”, the 1962 case which effectively read down Sec 124-A of the Indian Penal Code. Earlier, Dua was asked to join the probe in the case but he moved the Supreme Court challenging the FIR. The Supreme Court reserved verdict on Oct 6 after hearing arguments in the case.
Sept 19, 2020: Sedition case against AAP leader Sanjay Singh and three directors of private firm.
Case details: The Uttar Pradesh police had lodged an FIR against Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh under IPC sections 501A (printing or engraving matter knowing it to be defamatory), 120 (a) (conspiracy) and IT Act, on September 2, 2020, at the Hazratganj police station, for undertaking a survey that Singh said had exposed corruption and scams of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh.
A sedition charge under 124 (A) was included in a notice sent to Singh by the Lucknow police, along with 153 A (promoting enmity between classes), and 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration).
A UP police spokesperson said besides Singh, three directors of a private company, which conducted the survey, have also been slapped with the charges of sedition and fraud.
A total of 14 FIRs were lodged against him,
Case status: Singh filed a petition to the Supreme Court to seek quashing of the FIR against him. On Feb 9, 2021, a three-judge bench header by Justice Ashok Bhushan granted him interim relief from arrest and issued notice to UP government to club the 14 FIRs lodged against him. The sanction of the Rajya Sabha chairman was needed for the arrest of a member of Parliament.
October 5, 2020: Journalist Siddique Kappan and three others arrested on their way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh
Case details: FIR was lodged against journalist Siddique Kappan for offences under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Sedition, after he was arrested in October 2020 while en route to Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to report on a crime (Hathras rape case) in the discharge of his duty as a journalist in October 2020. He has been under detention since.
Case status: A chargesheet was filed on April 2, 2021. The Uttar Pradesh police’s special task force (STF) has chargesheeted eight people, including Popular Front of India’s students’ wing leader K.A. Rauf Sherif and journalist Siddique Kappan, in a Mathura court on charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy, funding of terror activities and other offences.
The others named in the chargesheet are Atiqur Rehman, Mohammad Danish, Alam, Masood Ahmad, Feroz Khan and Asad Badruddin. They have been accused of receiving funds to the tune of Rs 80 lakh from financial institutions based in Muscat and Doha for the purpose of creating unrest and riots in Uttar Pradesh.
They were chargesheeted under Indian Penal Code sections of 153 (A) promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 124(A) (sedition), 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), and with sections 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) related to raising funds for terror acts and various sections of the IT Act.
Oct 17, 2020: Sedition case against actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel
Case details: Police registered a case on the basis of a complaint filed by Munawwar Ali Sayyed, a casting director and fitness trainer under sections pertaining to committing malicious or deliberate acts with the intention of outraging religious feelings of citizens, sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence or language and common intention of the Indian Penal Code.
The FIR states that through their tweets, the sisters tried to “malign the Indian Constitution and image of the Maharashtra government, hurt sentiments of Muslims and tried to create division between Hindus and Muslims”.
Case status: The two were summoned for questioning. The investigation is on.
*This is a listing collated from news-sources and is maintained by the Repeal Sedition campaign. It is reproduced here with permission. For more details on the Repeal Sedition campaign, please click here or check out the Repeal Sedition Facebook page and Repeal Sedition Youtube channel.