Expressing views that are different from government opinion cannot be termed “sedition”, the Supreme Court said today, dismissing a petition against Jammu and Kashmir MP Farooq Abdullah.
“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 Rs 50,000.
Petitioners Rajat Sharma and Neh Srivastava had objected to the National Conference leader’s comments protesting against the centre’s move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. Their petition said Farooq Abdullah “is anti-national” and if he was allowed to continue as MP, “it would amount to approval of anti-national activities by anyone in India, which would be against the unity of the country.”
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.