NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has expressed concern over the emerging trend of police officers facing sedition charges following change of guard in their respective state governments.
Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said this must stop, while granting protection to Chhattisgarh IPS officer Gurjinder Pal Singh after a a sedition case was filed against him.
The CJI said as long as a police officer sides with the party in power, things are smooth. However, if the party loses power, sedition and other charges are slapped against them by the new party in power.
The observation came when the the court was hearing Singh’s plea after a sedition case was filed against him under Section 124A of Indian Penal Code based on a complaint by the Anti-corruption Bureau.
Singh had filed the petition challenging an order of the Chhattisgarh High Court which refused to quash the FIR for sedition against him. The top court, while issuing the notice, also granted him protection from arrest for four weeks.
The police had registered a sedition case against Singh, based on a written complaint filed by the Anti-corruption Bureau after preliminary findings into complaints that he had allegedly amassed disproportionate assets.
The anti-graft body reportedly seized alleged documents from Singh that were suggestive of a conspiracy against the government.
The Kotwali Police Station has registered the case under Sections 124-A, 153-A (sedition and treason) of IPC against the 1994 batch IPS officer, who was earlier suspended by the state government on July 5.
The ACB sleuths carried out raids for three days at 15 premises and properties linked to the IPS officer, following complaints over disproportionate assets.
The top court is already seized of seven petitions considering the Constitutional validity of Section 124A which criminalises sedition.
The bench expressed displeasure over the trend of filing of sedition cases just after senior advocate FS Nariman made opening submissions on behalf of Singh, saying “the gentleman has served as the Additional Director General of Police and was acting as the Director of the Police Academy and now the proceedings under section 124A of the IPC have been initiated against him”.
The bench, which also comprised Justice Surya Kant, directed the Congress-led government not to arrest Singh for four weeks. It directed Singh to cooperate with the agencies.