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Criticising abrogation of Article 370 not an offence: Supreme Court

Last Updated on March 10, 2024 by News Desk

Recently, the supreme court ruled that criticising the abrogation of article 370 and wishing pakistan on its independence day would not amount to an offence under section 153-A IPC. 

The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal filed by Javed Ahmad Hajam, professor at a college in Kolhapur, Challenging the Bombay high court decision observing criticism of abrogation of article 370 as an offence under section 153A IPC.

The brief facts of the case were that Javed had posted two messages in a whatsapp group consisting of parents and teachers, between august 13-15, 2022 which read as “August 5-Black Day Jammu & Kashmir” and “14th August Happy Independence Day Pakistan”. He also updated the status which read as “Article 370 was abrogated, we are not happy.”

An FIR was registered against him under section 153A IPC which penalises “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”. The two judge high court bench on April 10, 2022, held that wishing Pakistanis on their independence day would not amount to offence under section 153A IPC, but other objectionable parts can attract the offence. 

Javed moved to the supreme court challenging such a decision. 

However, the apex court observed “Describing the day the abrogation happened as a ‘Black Day’ is an expression of protest and anguish. If every criticism or protest of the actions of the State is to be held as an offence under Section 153-A, democracy, which is an essential feature of the Constitution of India, will not survive.

It further stated, that “the professor’s act, however, does not reflect any intention to do something which is prohibited under Section 153-A. At best, it is a protest, which is a part of his freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a),”

Therefore, the court set aside the high court ruling.

Written by Shagun Behal

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