After the Supreme Court’s interim order staying cases and proceedings under charges of sedition, the Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday directed the state police to halt its probe under Section 124A (sedition) of the IPC slapped against television anchor and journalist Aman Chopra. While allowing questioning of the scribe, the Jodhpur Bench on Tuesday extended the stay of his arrest till the next hearing which is scheduled for May 20.
The Noida-based journalist was booked by the Rajasthan police for hosting a TV debate on the recent demolition of a temple by authorities in Alwar as a part of its anti-encroachment drive.
Apart from sedition, Chopra has been booked under several provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) like 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups).
Earlier, the Jaipur bench of the high court had also stayed his arrest in two similar cases against him in the state’s Bundi and Alwar districts.
Citing the SC’s order on sedition, Justice Dinesh Mehta directed the police not to investigate Chopra under section 124A. The Supreme Court had ordered that no fresh FIRs will be filed under the controversial law and directed the central government to urge the states to follow suit until the Centre finished reviewing the sedition law.
In its order, the Jodhpur bench said, “Learned Senior Counsel Mr. Luthra and Mr. Bhandari, inform the Court that Hon’ble the Supreme Court, while hearing the matters relating to ‘sedition’… has passed an interim order directing the Centre/State Government to refrain from registering any FIRs under Section 124-A of Indian Penal Code and keep all pending matters in abeyance during the period that Section 124-A of IPC is being reconsidered”.
“This Court is of the view that the investigation, including petitioner’s interrogation, is necessary before reaching any concrete conclusion regarding commission of offences alleged against the petitioner,” the bench said.
“The petitioner is, therefore, directed to appear before the Investigating Officer, Police Station Bichhiwada, District Dungarpur, on 16.05.2022 at 11.00 am,” the order from Justice Mehta read.
(With inputs from PTI)