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‘Views different from government’s opinion not seditious’: Supreme Court

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

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.

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“Expression of views which are dissent and different from government opinion cannot be termed as seditious,” said the top court. The petitioner, said the Supreme Court, failed to substantiate his allegation that Farooq Abdullah had sought the help of China and Pakistan against India on Article 370 on special status for Jammu and Kashmir, which was scrapped in August 2019.The petitioners were fined ₹ 50,000.

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.

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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.”

Mr Abdullah, 83, is a National Conference MP from Srinagar. The former Chief Minister and his son Omar Abdullah were among scores of leaders detained to preempt any protests after the historic move to abrogate Article 370 and convert Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

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