Relief for Mani Shankar Aiyar: Derogatory remarks against PM do not constitute sedition, Delhi Police tells court

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New Delhi | Published: September 19, 2019 7:22:45 PM

Delhi Police told a court Thursday that mere uttering of derogatory words without any "overt act" against the Prime Minister of India does not constitute an offence of sedition against Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar.

Agrawal had filed a plea against Aiyar in 2017 for lodging a sedition case against him for allegedly using derogatory remarks for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hosting Pakistani officials, which allegedly posed a threat to national security

Delhi Police told a court Thursday that mere uttering of derogatory words without any “overt act” against the Prime Minister of India does not constitute an offence of sedition against Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar. Seeking dismissal of the plea filed by advocate and politician Ajay Agrawal, the police said in its action taken report that even if Aiyar broke the protocol by hosting Pakistan officials, it does not attract any penal provision under IPC.

“Mere uttering a derogatory word, without more overt act, against PM of India did not constitute an offence under section 124 A (sedition) and 153 A (promoting enmity) of Indian Penal Code,” the police told Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhara Azad.

In criminal law, an overt act is the one that can be clearly proved by evidence and from which criminal intent can be inferred.

“As far as the allegations of conspiring against India by these persons matter, the complainant is only assuming this and no such evidence has come on record to show conspiracy till now,” the police said.

Agrawal had filed a plea against Aiyar in 2017 for lodging a sedition case against him for allegedly using derogatory remarks for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hosting Pakistani officials, which allegedly posed a threat to national security.

The court has put up the matter for further hearing on December 16.

The plea said the meeting was held at the south Delhi residence of Aiyar and was attended by Pakistan’s high commissioner and an ex-foreign minister of the neighbouring country among others.

The court had earlier directed Agrawal, who contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election against UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli, to supply copies of the documents in court based on which the police would file an ATR.

Agrawal claimed that “derogatory” words were used against Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the meeting held on December 6, 2017 at Aiyar’s residence, which was also attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and ex-vice president Hamid Ansari.

The petitioner has sought the court’s direction to the Delhi Police to book Aiyar and others present under conspiracy and sedition charges, and investigate the matter.

He had said the Ministry of External Affairs and the Home Ministry were not informed about the meeting despite India’s strained relations with Pakistan.

The petitioner said he had requested the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Delhi police for a probe but in vain.

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