Delhi Lt Governor Approves Arundhati Roy’s Prosecution in 2010 Speech Case

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Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on Tuesday approved the prosecution of author Arundhati Roy and former University of Kashmir professor Sheikh Showkat Hussain in a case from 2010 over their alleged provocative speeches. The two were accused of making anti-India comments during a seminar in Delhi in 2010.

A complaint was filed against them by Sushil Pandit and a Kashmiri Pandit organisation named ‘Roots In Kashmir’ over their speeches at a convention titled ‘Azadi: The Only Way’.

Sushil Pandit had alleged that the issue discussed and propagated during the convention was “Separation of Kashmir from India”. It was also alleged the speeches were provocative in nature, thus jeopardising public peace and security.

The Delhi L-G noted that a prima facie case was made against Arundhati Roy and Sheikh Showkat Hussain for committing offences under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code for their speeches.

However, despite a case of sedition being made out, the L-G did not approve their prosecution under Section 124A (Sedition) of the IPC as the Supreme Court in May 2022 directed all pending trials and proceedings under sedition charges be kept in abeyance.

Under Section 196(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), a valid sanction for prosecution from the state government is a prerequisite for certain offences such as hate speech, hurting religious sentiments, hate crimes, sedition, waging war against the state and promoting enmity among others.

Two other accused — Kashmiri separatist leader Sayed Ali Shah Geelani and a Delhi University lecturer, Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani, who was acquitted by the Supreme Court in the Parliament attack case on technical grounds — died during the pendency of the case.

Source: India Today