Maharashtra government issues fresh guidelines to police on sedition charge

In fresh guidelines to police, the Maharashtra government has asked it to rule out any ambiguity during invocation of IPC section pertaining to sedition and not to invoke it against those trying to bring change in government through legal means without hatred and contempt.

The guidelines on IPC 124-A have been issued with regard to the assurance given to the Bombay High Court in the cartoonist Aseem Trivedi case. The assurance was given in the HC while sedition charges were dropped against Trivedi, who was arrested by Mumbai Police in 2012 for drawing cartoons that allegedly insulted the national emblem and Parliament.

The guidelines have been issued on August 27 in accordance with assurance in the HC that the government would come out with a circular indicating limitations and parameters of 124 A of Indian Penal Code, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi told PTI.

"Powers to invoke different sections of IPC are with the station officer. Government can issue guidelines, hence, we have done so to avoid confusion among different police stations," he said.

As per the government circular issued on August 27, the guidelines ask police to bear in mind that the sedition clause of IPC can be invoked against whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, dissatisfaction and provoking violence against the Central or State government.

However, section 124-A will not be invoked against those trying to bring change in government through legal means without hatred and contempt, the circular said.

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