Gujarat HC declines to drop sedition charges against Hardik Patel

Resorting to violence to force the government to fulfill the demand not right, says the court

GN Bureau | October 27, 2015


#Hardik Patel   #Patel   #Gujarat High Court   #Gujarat  

Gujarat High Court on Tuesday refused to quash sedition case slapped against Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel. He had moved the high court on Monday after he was arrested on charges of sedition and waging war against the government.

The court said today that prima facie, sedition charges hold against him and directed the police to continue further investigation. It has, however, asked for charges that accuse him of creating animosity between communities to be dropped from the complaint.

Refusing reprieve to Hardik, the court said no body has the right to promote violence. The court observed that while demanding quota was not illegal, resorting to violence to force the government to fulfill the demand was certainly not right.  The court observed that while "every individual in a democracy has the right to express his/her political opinion, nothing which leads to violence or hatred is permissible under the law."

On October 3, Hardik had met Vipul Desai of Surat who had announced that he would commit suicide in support of the agitation. "If you have so much courage...then go and kill a couple of policemen. Patels never commit suicide," he allegedly told him.

His remarks were aired by a local TV channel and were shared on social media, sparking a controversy.

Hardik’s petition said the FIR was only aimed at suppressing the agitation of the Patel community for reservation in OBC category. His actions did not amount to sedition or waging war against the government, it said.

There has been two FIRs against Hardik where he has been accused of sedition (under section 124-A of IPC). Earlier, Surat police had booked him for sedition for allegedly advising a Patel youth to kill policemen rather than committing suicide. His petition seeking to scrap that FIR is already before the high court.

Hardik is currently in the custody of Ahmedabad crime branch. The 22-year-old leader of Patel community's agitation for reservations was arrested on October 19 and booked by the police on sedition charges.

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