Sedition charges against Hardik Patel upheld by Gujarat HC
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court today said there is prime facie case of sedition against Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, while refusing to quash the FIR filed against him in Surat.
However, the court has ordered to drop section 153 (A) (creating enmity between two communities) of IPC from the FIR.
Justice J B Pardiwala said there is prime facie case of sedition against Hardik as he had advised a youth to kill policemen.
The court gave its verdict in the petition filed by the accused's father Bharat Patel to squash the sedition FIR filed against him.
"Advising a person to resort to violence and disturb peace in society amounts to sedition," the court said.
Refusing to squash the sedition plaint, the court said, "Probe is in progress and picture will be clear by the end of the probe."
"It's open for Patidars (Patels) to demand quota by peaceful means, but what's not permissible is any act that may jeopardise public tranquillity," the court said.
Ordering to drop IPC section 153 (A) from the FIR, the court said that Hardik's statement does not promote enmity between two communities as it is against police.
A case of sedition was filed against Hardik for his alleged controversial remarks instigating his community youth to kill policemen instead of committing suicide.
The sedition case has been filed under section 124(A) of IPC at Amroli Police Station in Surat under which any accused, if convicted, can be sentenced to maximum of life imprisonment, while the minimum sentence is of three years.
The section reads, "whoever, by words, either spoken or written..brings hatred or contempt, or excites disaffection towards the government shall be punishable with imprisonment for life...or with minimum imprisonment up to three years."
Other IPC sections included in the FIR against Hardik are 115 (abetment of offence), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups, 505-2 (incite one community against another) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
The 22-year-old Patel leader had on October 3 allegedly advised a Surat-based youth from his community to kill cops rather than ending his life.
"If you have so much courage...then go and kill a couple of policemen. Patels never commit suicide," Hardik had allegedly told the youth Vipul Desai, who had announced that he would commit suicide in support of the agitation.
Hardik had visited Desai's house accompanied by a team of a news channel, which had aired the conversation later.
The first sedition complaint against Hardik was filed after almost 15 days of his controversial remarks. The second sedition case against him was filed in Ahmedabad and he is in custody of city Crime Branch in the case.
The quota stir leader has been hogging the limelight since the August 25 "mega-rally" of Patels in Ahmedabad and the subsequent violence across Gujarat in which 10 people were killed.