Provocative speeches: Delhi LG approves prosecution of Arundhati Roy, Kashmir prof
The FIR against Roy and former professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain was registered following the orders of the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi
Delhi lieutenant governor VK Saxena on Tuesday accorded sanction for prosecution against author Arundhati Roy and former professor at central university of Kashmir Sheikh Showkat Hussain for their alleged provocative speeches, officials aware of the matter said.
A senior Delhi Police officer said that the FIR (first information report) in the case was registered on November 29, 2010 on the directions of the metropolitan magistrate through his order on November 27, for the offences of sedition, promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence and language, with imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration.
“They were also charged with the acts related to public mischief. The case was also registered under Section 13 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. Besides Roy and Hussain, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the then chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and former Delhi University professor Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani and Maoist sympathizer Varvara Rao, who is also an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, were also present on the occasion,” the officer said on the condition of anonymity.
He further said that Sushil Pandit, a social activist from Kashmir, had filed a complaint at Tilak Marg police station on October 28, 2010, against various participants for allegedly delivering provocative speeches in public in the conference organized by ‘Committee for release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) under the banner of “Azadi - The only Way”, on October 21, 2010 at LTG Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, between 2pm and 8:30pm.
“The complainant had alleged that the issue discussed and propagated was ‘separation of Kashmir from India’. It was also alleged that the speeches were provocative in nature, jeopardizing public peace and security. The complainant later also filed a complaint under section 156(3) of the CrPC before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi,” he said.
“The statements of some of the speakers during the conference were mentioned by the complainant in his complaint on October 28, 2010. Further, transcripts of speeches given by the speakers were also submitted. Two exhibits i.e. one CD and DVD were forwarded on January 12, 2017, for forensic examination at computer division of CFSL, which opined that CD/DVD was found to be logically functional and physically undamaged,” the officer said, wishing not to be named.
The officer also said that prosecution sanction under section 196 of the CrPC was sought by Delhi Police for offence under sections 153A, 153B, 504, 505 of IPC and Section 13 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 against Roy and Hussain.
“Section 13 of the UAPA which deals with punishment for unlawful activities states that whoever takes part in or commits or advocates, abets, advises or incites the commission of any unlawful activity, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine. On the other hand, while section 153A of IPC deals with the offence of promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence or language, section 153B speaks about imputations, assertions prejudicial to the national integrity,” he added.
It may be noted here that despite a case of sedition being made out, sanction has not been granted under Section 124A of IPC (Sedition) by the LG, owing to the fact that the Supreme Court on May 11, 2022, in another case, has directed that all pending trials, appeals and proceedings with respect to the charge framed under Section 124A (Sedition) of IPC shall be kept in abeyance and thereafter the three-judge bench headed by CJI had referred the matter to the constitution bench on September 12 this year.
Two other accused, Sayed Ali Shah Geelani and Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani have died during the pendency of the case.
Neither Roy nor Hussain could be reached out for their comments.