Dropping of sedition charge: Panchkula police’s charges against dera followers under scanner
There are at least 10 more cases where the police have slapped sedition charges.india Updated: Feb 20, 2018 11:24 IST
The recent verdict of the local court dropping sedition charges against 53 dera sacha sauda followers in connection with Panchkula violence has put the police probe under scanner.
There are at least 10 more cases where the police have slapped sedition charges including Section 121 (waging war against the state) and 121A (conspiracy to commit offences under Section 121), and Section 122 (collecting arms, etc.with intention of waging war against the Government of India) against a large number of dera followers who allegedly clashed with security forces on August 25, last year, after the conviction of dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case.
In one of the cases ‘state vs Sukhbir Singh’, the police have even slapped Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code that deals with bringing disaffection towards government through words, or signs, or otherwise.
The two cases where approval is granted include a case ‘state vs Surender Dhiman’ in which Honeypreet and other top dera functionaries are the main accused.
Sources in the police said that out of these cases, police have so far got permission to impose sedition sections only in two cases. In two other cases, sanction has already been declined while in six cases, permission is pending.
Given that framing of charges in the said cases are to be done in the next two weeks, sedition charges might be dropped if sanction is not granted at the earliest.
As reported by HT on Monday, the local court dropped sedition charges against 53 dera followers because police did not have prosecution sanction from the state government to frame them under Section 121 and 121A.
“The prosecution sanction of any penal section is granted only if the state is convinced that these charges justify the police probe. If the state has put on hold approvals for sedition charges, this really puts police probe in doubt in connection with the dera violence,” said defence lawyer RC Chauhan, who is opposing police move to frame his client under sedition charges in one of the cases.Panchkula police commissioner AS Chawla said that they are legally reviewing the matter
Sedition approval only in Honeypreet and dera chief escape case
The two cases where approval is granted include a case ‘state vs Surender Dhiman’ in which Honeypreet and other top dera functionaries are the main accused. The matter is listed for framing of charges on February 21.
The second is ‘state vs head constable Ajay’ in which dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s security guards are accused of helping the dera chief in an escape bid. This case is listed on February 26.
First Published: Feb 20, 2018 11:23 IST