New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday permitted the Gujarat Police to complete its investigation into allegations of sedition against Patel community leader Hardik Patel but restrained it from filing a chargesheet.
Giving the police one-and-a-half month to investigate the 22-year-old Patel, Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice R. Banumathi directed the next hearing of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader’s plea seeking the quashing of FIR accusing him of sedition on January 5, 2016.
"No chargesheet in the matter,” the bench told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
Patel hit the headlines after mobilizing hundreds of thousands of Patel community members seeking quotas in jobs and educational institutions.
Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice Amitava Roy had on November 4 referred to another bench Patel's plea seeking the quashing of the FIR accusing him of sedition for allegedly asking a supporter to kill policemen instead of committing suicide.
In another case involving a habeas corpus after Patel allegedly went missing, the court said the proceedings would go on before the high court.
Rohatgi told the court that the so-called abduction was stage managed.
Appearing for Patel, senior counsel Kapil Sibal said the allegation of sedition was slapped on October 18 for an incident that took place on October 3 when he was caught on camera telling one Vipulbhai Desai not to commit suicide and instead kill policemen.
The court was told that the Patel leader’s remarks made in private were caught on TV cameras and then it went viral.
Taking the court to the constitutional provisions guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression and the judgment of the apex court, Sibal said there was no basis for the allegations of sedition.
He said nothing had happened before October 3 when the statement was made and nothing happened for 15 days after that when the FIR regarding sedition was filed on October 18.
However, the attorney general said there was a conspiracy to damage government property and kill policemen.