In a significant development, the state police have withdrawn the sedition charge filed against Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesperson and M.P. Sanjay Raut. The charge stemmed from an article authored by Raut in the party’s publication, “Saamna,” which contained serious allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Initially, an FIR was registered against Raut under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 124(A) (sedition), 153(A) (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505(2) (statements promoting enmity).
The decision to drop the sedition charge followed a careful legal review by the state police. This move was prompted by the police’s recognition of a Supreme Court directive issued in May of the previous year. The apex court had instructed all states to refrain from applying IPC section 124(A) due to ongoing challenges to its constitutional validity.
The use of section 124(A) could potentially have led to consequences for contempt of the Supreme Court, given its directive to avoid invoking this specific section. Moreover, the Centre had assured the court that it was reconsidering the validity of this section, acknowledging concerns related to freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution.
The withdrawal of the sedition charge against Sanjay Raut stands as a significant moment highlighting the intersection of legal directives, constitutional freedoms, and the evolving discourse on free speech and sedition laws in India.