Rajasthan HC asks police not to probe charges against News18 anchor Aman Chopra under sedition law
The development came hours after the Supreme Court’s decision to keep proceedings under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code in abeyance.
The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday directed the state police to not investigate the charges against News18 India television anchor Aman Chopra under the sedition law, The Indian Express reported.
The court’s direction came hours after the Supreme Court decided to put the sedition law in abeyance in an interim ruling. A three-judge bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli also requested the Centre and state governments to not file any new cases under the law till it is re-examined.
Three first information reports were registered against Chopra after he had hosted a show on the demolition of a temple in Alwar district’s Rajgarh in April. He is accused of promoting enmity between different groups and hurting religious sentiments.
According to the police, Chopra had given “false and fictitious details” by showing that the demolition of the temple was done by the Rajasthan government as an act of revenge for the demolition drive carried by the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation in the national capital’s Jahangirpuri area.
He was booked under Sections 124A (sedition), 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Informational Technology Act.
On May 7, Chopra was granted interim protection from arrest by the Rajasthan High Court in two of the three FIRs. On May 10, the court also stayed his arrest in the third FIR, which was filed in the state’s Dungarpur district, according to The Indian Express.
Since last week, a team of the Rajasthan Police has been in Noida to arrest Chopra, but could not find him there. Officers had also visited the anchor’s office in Noida on May 1.
In its Wednesday’s ruling, the Rajasthan High Court said that an investigation, including an interrogation of Chopra, was necessary in reaching any conclusion in the third case.
The court has directed the news anchor to appear before the police by 11 am on May 16.
It has further listed the matter for hearing on May 20.