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In a first, court grants anticipatory bail to journalist booked under sedition law

Date : 01/08/2018

Who is affected?
Kamal Shukla, senior journalist and Editor of Bhoomkaal magazine in the Bastar region which raises issues of tribal rights and police excesses.
And millions of journalists/artists/activists/citizens like him who have been booked or stand the threat of being booked under the sedition law for their work or material they share on public platforms.

What happened?
He had allegedly shared an offensive cartoon drawing on his Facebook page along with his comments. The cartoon was circulated at the time when the Honorable Supreme Court had rejected a public interest litigation seeking probe over the suspicious death of Justice Loya. A resident of Rajasthan complained to the office of the President of India and the President’s office forwarded the complaint to Chhattisgarh police with a note saying ‘Take action’. Following upon the complaint, the police filed an FIR under section u/s 124-A of Indian Penal Code and Section 66-D of the Information Technology Act.

What were the arguments by the lawyers?
The case, even if taken at face value does not amount to sedition.
Kamal Shukla was not the maker of the cartoon. He only shared the cartoon along with his comments on social media.

What does this mean for you?
This is one of the first cases where an applicant has been granted anticipatory bail. The state has been using the Sedition law to silence dissent from artists/activists/citizens across the country.

PFA, the order.

Note: HRLN does not endorse the content in the cartoon drawing.

Read the order here.

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