New Delhi: Press Council Chairperson Justice Markandey Katju has condemned the slapping of sedition charges against Mumbai-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and alleged those who had done it were indulged in a serious offence and were liable to face criminal proceedings.
Katju also said that in case any similar wrongful arrest takes place in future, he himself would step in and get the guilty person, no matter how highly placed, put behind the bars.
"If a wrongful arrest is made, when the person has not committed sedition, as Assem Trivedi has certainly not committed sedition, then those people who make that wrongful arrest, it is a serious offence under the Indian Penal Code section 342," Katju said in an interview with Karan Thapar for the programme Devil`s Advocate on CNN IBN.
"They must be booked. These policemen and if any political authority have ordered these arrests, they must be immediately arrested and put on trial," he added.
Katju said one of the ways for a victim of a wrongful arrest was to approach a judicial magistrate.
"So, file criminal a complaint, make the minister, make the Director General of Police, the Superintendent of Police, the daroga, everybody as the accused and I am sure if some material is produced, a notice will be served and they will be put on trial," he said.
The Press Council chairperson said he did not want to comment on judicial proceedings which were still pending but added it was a serious offence to lock up a person when he has not committed a crime.
"If this thing is repeated ever again and it comes to my knowledge that such illegal arrest is made, when there is no crime committed, I, as the chairperson Press Council, am going to institute criminal proceedings and get the person locked up whether he is chief minister or minister or Director General of Police," Katju said.
"By now, you must be knowing what kind of person I am," he told Thapar.