The classrooms were converted into courts, the students were public prosecutors and counsels, the judges were senior advocates of Supreme Court and the High Court.
Though it was a moot court organised at Delhi University’s Campus Law Centre, the temperament of the court proceeding was nothing less than those in real courts.
Delhi University’s Campus Law Centre organised the 13th K.K. Luthra moot court on the law of sedition and the propriety of death penalty as a punishment for the offence.
The three-day event that lasts till Sunday has students from 75 colleges participating from across the country and abroad. The final result of the competition will be declared on Sunday.
On Saturday, there were Toby Chandler, Sorcha Dervin and Kieran Freear from Bristol University in the shoes of public prosecutor defending the state and against them were students of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law in Patiala, Mittul Singh Rana, KS Roshan and Vikram Choudhary.
The budding lawyers from Punjab submitted before the court that Article 124A which advocates that 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, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards state shall be punished, should be struck down. They gave examples of how sedition was invoked on a great leader like Mahatama Gandhi.
In March 1922, Gandhi was tried before Mr Broomfield, District & Sessions Judge of Ahmedabad, for sedition in respect of two articles, which he had written in his paper “Young India”.
Basing their argument on the theme - dissent is essence of democracy - they said that freedom of speech means that right to say things which some people regard as dangerous, a robust and nature democracy should be expected to absorb unpalatable ideas without prosecuting them.
Enacting the role of public prosecutor, the students from Bristol University said that any act that leads to violence needs to be contained.
They said that if an act of delivering speech , calling for supporters to break government into pieces and burning public property are in pursuant of the common intention to overthrow the government and should be dealt harshly, according to the law of land.