Expressing a view which is different from a decision taken by the federal government cannot be said to be seditious, India's Supreme Court has observed.
"The expression of a view which is dissent from a decision taken by the central government itself cannot be said to be seditious. There is nothing in the statement which we find so offensive as to give a cause of action for a Court to initiate proceedings," a top court bench said on Wednesday.
The remarks by the bench came while dismissing a PIL seeking action against National Conference President Farooq Abdullah over his comments on abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which had given special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta rejected the PIL and also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the petitioners for making such claims.
The top court was hearing a plea which referred to Abdullah's statement on restoring Article 370 and contended it clearly amounts to a seditious act and therefore he is liable to be punished under section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code.
The petition filed by Rajat Sharma and Neh Srivastava, both belonging to an organisation Vishwa Guru India Vision of Sardar Patel, alleged that the former J&K CM is trying to "hand over" Kashmir to China and thus, he should be prosecuted for sedition.