Home >News >India >SC dismisses PIL seeking quashing of sedition charges against Karnataka school

NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking quashing of sedition charges filed against parents and teachers of Shaheen School in Bidar, Karnataka.

A PIL was filed by social activist Yogita Bhayana after the police slapped sedition charges on the management, parents of students, and teachers of the school for staging a play that was allegedly critical of the contentious Citizen (Amendment) Act and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We will continue to explore our legal options and file more petitions," said one advocate directly involved in the case, requesting anonymity.

The plea also sought drafting of guidelines to check the misuse of the colonial-era law.

Advocates have argued that criticising legislations or the prime minister did not amount to sedition.

The Supreme Court's dismissal of the PIL will not have any bearing on the case being heard in Bidar court and the Kalaburagi bench of the Karnataka High Court, two advocates directly involved in the case said.

The SC has said the aggrieved parties can approach the court.

The Bidar court had said the staging of the play did not prima facie amount to sedition.

Two people--one parent and one teacher-- connected with the school were arrested on 30 January were released on bail after 15 days while the management was granted anticipatory bail on Wednesday.

School authorities and advocates appearing in the case say that investigation in the case is on and the chargesheet is yet to be filed.

Pictures and videos of police officials repeatedly interrogating students of the school have attracted backlash.

“We have filed a case in Kalaburagi bench (Karnataka HC) to quash the sedition charges and are not party to the PIL filed in SC," said a person from the school.

There have been at least five cases of sedition filed in Karnataka alone.

Parts of India have been facing relentless protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Protests in the national capital had turned violent late last month, with hundreds injured and death toll touching 53, according to a report in the Hindustan Times.

In Karnataka, there have been at least two deaths due to police firing in the communally sensitive coastal district of Mangaluru.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka was cornered by the opposition after a party legislator, called centenarian freedom fighter H.S.Doreswamy a “fake" and an “agent of Pakistan" last month. Doreswamy has been at the forefront of several protests against the CAA in the state and is a critic of Modi.

BJP leaders from Karnataka have condoned the statement.

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