Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, facing the charge of sedition among others, on Wednesday walked out of jail a day after the Bombay high court ordered his release on bail and vowed to intensify his campaign for scrapping of the sedition law.
The Kanpur-based cartoonist, arrested for posting alleged seditious content on his website and insulting the national emblem and Parliament, was on Monday remanded in judicial custody till September 24, after police said it no longer required his custody and Trivedi refused to seek bail till the charge of sedition was dropped.
However, the high court had on Tuesday ordered him to be enlarged on bail, saying, "He can be released on a personal bond. If drawing those cartoons is the only charge, then his custody is not required."
The HC passed the order on a PIL filed by city-based lawyer Sanskar Marathe describing Trivedi's arrest as "illegal, bad in law, and unjustified".
Later, speaking to reporters at Mumbai Press Club along with rights activist Binayak Sen, Trivedi questioned the relevance of the sedition law in present-day democracy and demanded its immediate repeal.
"During the British rule, the rulers applied IPC 124 (A) to gag the voice of freedom fighters. It was applied against Mahatma Gandhi, Tilak and Veer Savarkar. It has been applied against writers, journalists, artists in the past few years and has been misused most of the time," he said.
Vowing to continue his fight for freedom of expression, Trivedi said, "My cartoons are like a mirror. They reflect the truth as it is. I never felt that I have committed a smallest mistake through my cartoons."
Describing section 124 (A) as one that reminds of "slavery", he said, "I respect law but not the one which is reminiscent of the foreign yoke."
However, Sen, who had also been charged with sedition for his alleged links with naxalites, when asked if he subscribed to the manner in which Trivedi conveyed his message through the cartoons, said he was sharing the platform with him only to voice his opposition to the law governing sedition.
Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who was arrested on charges of posting seditious contents on his website is seen outside a Mumbai court. PTI Photo