‘Not sedition to have views different from govt’: SC junks plea against Farooq Abdullah

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea seeking action against former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah for his comments on scrapping of Article 370 and said that it was not seditious to have views different from the government.
The judgement was pronounced by a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta. “The expression of a view that is different form that of the government cannot be termed seditious,” the bench observed, dismissing the petition. It also directed the petitioners to deposit ?50,000 for filing the petition.The petitioners, Rajat Sharma and Neh Srivastava, had taken exception to the National Conference (NC) chief’s comments on the Central government’s 2019 decision to scrap Article 370 which conferred special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The petition also demanded that the leader’s membership of Parliament be declared null and void and sedition charges be slapped on him under Section 124-A of IPC.During a television interview in 2020, Abdullah had said he wished that with China’s support, Article 370 of the Constitution, will be restored.He noted that China was not happy with the nullification of Article 370 and said, “As far as China is concerned, I didn’t bring {the} Chinese president here. Our Prime Minister invited him to Gujarat and even did jhoola sawari with him. He [PM Modi] even took him to Chennai and had food with him.” 
The National Conference, however, denied that he made any such comments. “Our leader never said that Article 370 will be restored with the help of China, which was claimed by BJP leader Shambit Patra at a press conference. He also presented some earlier statements of Mr Farooq Abdullah in a wrong manner,” Hindustan Times’ Hindi language publication Hindustan had quoted an NC spokesperson as saying.

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