The Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the Kavaratti Police of Lakshadweep to file a statement in the anticipatory bail petition filed by filmmaker Aisha Sultana in the sedition case against her.
Justice Ashok Menon heard the matter today and posted it for further hearing on June 17.
An FIR was registered against the filmmaker by the Kavaratti police on sedition charges based on a complaint by BJP’s Lakshadweep unit president C Abdul Khader Haji against Ms Sultana for stating in a TV debate that the Centre deployed COVID as a “bio weapon” against people of Lakshadweep.
The bail plea states, “I made the “bio-weapon” remark in the context of criticizing the administration relaxing the COVID-19 protocol, which led to a sharp increase of pandemic cases in the island, where there had been not even a single COVID case till January 2021. Lakshadweep is seeing an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases due to the relaxations in the quarantine protocol, and it is in this context that the alleged remarks were made.”
The plea further said that the criticism on political issues does not constitute the offence of sedition under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
“The applicant had only intended to say that it was due to the apathetic approach and reforms of the new administrator that serious threat is being caused to the lives of the people of the Island and had absolutely no intention of exciting disaffection towards the Government,” the plea reads.
The plea said that the offences under section 153B of IPC also will not stand against the applicant as the words spoken is not prejudicial to national integration or causing disharmony or feelings of enmity or hatred or ill-will.
Kavaratti Police has registered a case under section 124A (sedition) and 153B (acts against national integration) of IPC.
The bail plea under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was filed after the filmmaker was served a notice under Section 41A of CrPC, asking her to appear at Police Headquarters, Kavaratti, related to the case.