HC Asks Govt: Why Not Criminal Cases Against Geelani, Roy15 November 2010
The Indian Express
New Delhi: In what may be fresh trouble for hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, writer Arundhati Roy and Delhi University professor S A R Geelani over their alleged anti-national speeches during a seminar in the Capital on October 21, the Delhi High Court on Monday sought a reply from the Delhi government as to why a criminal case should not to be registered against them. Significantly, two complaints, including one by a group of Kashmiri Pandits, ‘Roots in Kashmir’, have already been filed in the city’s trial courts against the trio. The High Court has asked the government to file a response by January 27. Justice Hima Kohli passed the order on the petition seeking initiation of criminal proceedings against them under Section 124 A of the IPC relating to sedition. Filed through advocate Sugriva Dubey, the petition stated: “The freedom of speech alone never includes the freedom of propagation of ideas against national interest and one has to ensure that speeches should not be allowed only for the purpose of provoking innocent people.” The advocate alleged that Roy and others, while speaking in favour of Kashmir’s “azadi” at a seminar held in Delhi on October 21, had said Jammu and Kashmir was not an integral part of India and that Roy had called upon the youth of the state to make sacrifices for Kashmir. Meanwhile, hearing the complaint by Roots in Kashmir, a trial court had on November 3 issued a notice to the Delhi Police over the group’s plea that sought registration of criminal cases against the trio. The police has been asked to submit a status report on November 16. Adjudicating another complaint for registration of an FIR against them, a magistrate had on November 10 decided to record pre-summoning evidence of the complainant. Notably, the legal opinion received from the Central government had said that a case under 124-A of the IPC for sedition was possible against Hurriyat Conference Chairman Geelani and Roy for their anti-India speeches.