Prima facie sedition case made out against Hardik: HC

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court today held that “a prima facie case of sedition” was made out against the Patel quota agitation’s leader Hardik Patel booked by Surat police for advising a youth to “kill the police rather than committing suicide.”

“Prima facie, it could be said that the words spoken or the statement alleged to have been made by the applicant in the presence of the media…Would amount to exhortation to the public,” Justice J B Pardiwala said.

“…More particularly (it would amount to an exhortation to) the members of Patel community to resort to violence or create public disorder with a view to subverting the government by law established in the state of Gujarat,” the HC said refusing to entertain a plea seeking quashing of the FIR.

“The applicant may not have stated in so many words that the members of Patel community should overthrow the lawfully established government of Gujarat by force or violence, but when the attack is on the police force which is one of the most important agencies of the state government, then a prima facie case under section 124-A of IPC could be said to be made out,” the order said.

Hardik’s father Bharat Patel had filed a petition seeking to quash the FIR filed against his son.

“The demand for reservation for the members of the Patel community by itself is not an offence. It is open to the members of the Patel community to seek reservation, if available in law or if the state government, by way of a policy decision, deems fit to provide,” said the HC.

“It is also open to demand reservation by peaceful means, ceaselessly fighting public opinion that might be against them and opposing those who desired the continuance of the existing order of the society and the government,” added the HC order.

“What is not permissible…Is any act which has the effect of bringing or which attempts to bring into hatredness or contempt or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law,” the HC held.