Delhi: Sedition charges has been slapped on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley by a UP court for criticizing Supreme Court's recent decision striking down National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for selection of judges to the higher judiciary.
The civil judge of Mahoba in Jhansi district Ankit Goel has taken suo motu cognizance of Jaitley's criticism of the verdict, as per a report in The Times of India.
The judge has asked Jaitley to be present before him on November 19.
The judge said that the BJP leader's blog 'Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected' prima facie amounted to sedition under Section 124A.
He added that it also caused public mischief under Section 505 of Indian Penal Code and that under Section 190 of Criminal Procedure Code, the court was entitled to take cognizance of Jaitley's statements.
The Finance Minister had on October 18 said that Indian democracy could not be a "tyranny of the unelected" and to strengthen independence of judiciary, one did not have to weaken Parliamentary sovereignty.
Terming as "erroneous logic" reasons given by a five-judge Constitution bench which declared as unconstitutional the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014 and also the 99th Constitution Amendment, Jaitley had warned that democracy would be in danger if the "elected are undermined", as per PTI.
"The Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected and if the elected are undermined, democracy itself would be in danger," he had said in a Facebook post, which he had termed as "personal views".
Jaitley, also a former Law Minister, had added that as someone concerned about the independence of judiciary and the sovereignty of Parliament, he believed that the two can and must co-exist.
"Independence of the judiciary is an important basic structure of the Constitution. To strengthen it, one does not have to weaken Parliamentary sovereignty which is not only an essential basic structure but is the soul of our democracy," he had written.
The NDA government had suffered a huge blow with the apex court saying recently that legislations, which gives a major role to the executive in appointing judges, would breach the "independence" of the higher judiciary.
The NJAC Act, which replaced the 22-year-old collegium system of judges appointing judges, was held as "void" by the apex court which said it impinges upon the concepts of "separation of powers" and the "basic structure" of the Constitution.
In its reaction, the Modi government had said that the verdict, which drew mixed responses from the legal fraternity and political parties, was a "setback to parliamentary sovereignty."
(With PTI inputs)