Hang these ‘JAICHANDS’ from the nearest lamp post

via H Balakrishnan published on October 24, 2010

Dear Sir,

Reference your edit – ” Listen to the dissenting voices ” – (TNIE – 23 Oct).
You wrote : “  For another, a democracy is not worth its name if it does not allow dissenting voices “.

I couldn’t agree more with you on that score. The ‘fundamental right to freedom of expression’ is guarenteed to a citizen of our country under the provisions of Article 19 (1) (a) of our Constitution. This right is not absolute. It is subject to reasonable restrictions, which, amongst others, empower the state to make laws that can restrict the exercise of this right in the interest of public order, decency or morality.

The foregoing, translated into the Indian Penal Code, defines ‘sedition’ as : ” Section 124A of the IPC:  Sedition — 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 India, 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 “.

The judicial interpretation of Article 19 of the Constitution and Section 124A of the IPC, can be discerned in Singh v. State of Bihar, wherein, the Supreme Court of India questioned the constitutional validity of IPC section 124A as applied to freedom of speech and expression. After a comprehensive review of sedition jurisprudence and the implications of sedition law on the freedoms guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court of India confirmed the Niharendu interpretation of section 124A, and held that it was not ultra vires the Constitution. The court held that: ” [A]ny acts within the meaning of [section] 124A which have the effect of subverting the Government by bringing that Government into contempt or hatred, or creating disaffection against it, would be within the penal statute because the feeling of disloyalty to the Government established by law or enmity to it imports the idea or tendency to public disorder by the use of actual violence or incitement to violence “.

To me at least, the ” “bhookhe-nange (hungry and naked) Hindustan ” , utterances of that ‘ONE BOOK WONDER’, CALLED ARUNDATHI ROY – is nothing but PURE SEDITION. Since the ‘yardstick’ for freedom of expression for our English media are the Western democracies – we ape them for sure !! – out of curiosity, I ‘googled’ and here are some revealing facets from those ‘paragons of virtue’ – Western Democracies as far as ‘seditious’ speech go :

(a) – United Kingdom – Sedition was a common law offence in the UK. James Fitzjames Stephen’s “Digest of the Criminal Law” stated that “a seditious intention is an intention to bring into hatred or contempt, or to exite disaffection against the person of His Majesty, his heirs or successors, or the government and constitution of the United Kingdom, as by law established, or either House of Parliament, or the administration of justice, or to excite His Majesty’s subjects to attempt otherwise than by lawful means, the alteration of any matter in Church or State by law established, or to incite any person to commit any crime in disturbance of the peace, or to raise discontent or disaffection amongst His Majesty’s subjects, or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of such subjects.

(b) – Australia – Australia’s sedition laws were amended in anti-terrorism legislation passed on 6 December 2005, updating definitions and increasing penalties. In late 2006, the Howard government proposed plans to amend Australia’s Crimes Act 1914, introducing laws that mean artists and writers may be jailed for up to seven years if their work was considered seditious or inspired sedition either deliberately or accidentally. In 2006, the then Australian attorney-general Philip Ruddock had rejected calls by two reports — from a Senate committee and the Australian Law Reform Commission — to limit the sedition provisions in the Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 by requiring proof of intention to cause disaffection or violence. He had also brushed aside recommendations to curtail new clauses outlawing “urging conduct” that “assists” an “organisation or country engaged in armed hostilities” against the Australian military. The new laws, inserted into the legislation December 2005, allow for the criminalization of basic expressions of political opposition, including supporting resistance to Australian military interventions, such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Asia-Pacific region.

(c) – Canada – During World War II former Mayor of Montreal Camillien Houde campaigned against conscription in Canada. On August 2, 1940, Houde publicly urged the men of Quebec to ignore the National Registration Act. Three days later, he was placed under arrest by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on charges of sedition. After being found guilty, he was confined in internment camps in Petawawa, Ontario, and Gagetown, New Brunswick, until 1944.

(d) – New Zealand – Sedition charges were not uncommon in New Zealand early in the 20th Century. For instance, the future Prime Minister Peter Fraser had been convicted of sedition in his youth for arguing against conscription during World War I, and was imprisoned for a year. Perhaps ironically, Fraser re-introduced the conscription of troops as the Prime Minister during World War II. In New Zealand’s first sedition trial in decades, Tim Selwyn was convicted of sedition (section 83 of the Crimes Act 1961) on 8 June 2006.

(e) – United States – In 1798, President John Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts, the fourth of which, the Sedition Act or “An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States” set out punishments of up to two years of imprisonment for “opposing or resisting any law of the United States” or writing or publishing “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” about the President or the U.S. Congress, but specifically not the Vice-President. This Act of Congress was allowed to expire in 1801 after the election of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency. He had been the Vice-President at the time of the Act’s passage. In the Espionage Act of 1917, Section 3 made it a federal crime, punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000, to willfully spread false news of the American army and navy with an intent to disrupt their operations, to foment mutiny in their ranks, or to obstruct recruiting. This Act of Congress was amended Sedition Act of 1918, which expanded the scope of the Espionage Act to any statement criticizing the Government of the United States. These Acts were upheld in 1919 in the case of Schenck v. United States, but they were largely repealed in 1921, leaving laws forbidding foreign espionage in the United States and allowing military censorship of sensitive material. In 1940, the Alien Registration Act, or “Smith Act”, was passed, which made it a federal
crime to advocate or to teach the desirability of overthrowing the United States Government, or to be a member of any organization which does the same. It was often used against Communist Party organizations. This Act was invoked in three major cases, one of which against the Socialist Worker’s Party in Minneapolis in 1941, resulting in 23 convictions, and again in what became known as the Great Sedition Trial of 1944 in which a number of pro-Nazi figures were indicted but released when the prosecution ended in a mistrial. Also, a series of trials of 140 leaders of the Communist Party USA also relied upon the terms of the “Smith Act” — beginning in 1949 — and lasting until 1957. Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the convictions of 11 CPUSA leaders in 1951 in Dennis v. United States , that same Court reversed itself in 1957 in the case of Yates v. United States, by ruling that teaching an ideal, no matter how harmful it may seem, does not equal advocating or planning its implementation. Although unused since at least 1961, the “Smith Act” remains a Federal law.

There you have it Sir. The ‘Paragons of Virtue, Human Rights & Democracy’ – have laws that are far more stringent than the ‘native Bharat’!!

Rather than castigate Arun Jaitely for his utterances, the Nation ought to be thankful to him for putting the matter in public space. This ‘ONE BOOK WONDER’ and the other ‘FREE LOADERS /BOOTERS’ at the ‘ AZADI SHENNANIGAN ‘, need to tried under the Law of the Land. They have ‘overstayed’ India’s ‘hospitality & tolerance’. If I could borrow from Justice Katju’s analogy – I’ll hang these ‘JAICHANDS’ from the nearest lamp post. It’ll be good riddance to extremely BAD RUBBISH !! JAI HO !!


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