Justice Faizanuddin, the former Supreme Court judge who had in 1995 along with Justice AS Anand delivered the landmark ruling in what constitutes sedition, believes that the case against Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU Students' Union president who has been charged with sedition, is "laughable", reports The Indian Express.
"The case against Jawaharlal Nehru University students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar does not amount to sedition," said Justice Faizanuddin. "India is the largest democracy in the world. Something or the other is said every day in some corner of the vast country. Are we to be affected by this? What is going to happen to us by mere raising of slogans? I find it laughable."
Justice Faizanuddin and Justice AS Anand had delivered the landmark judgment in a case in which sedition charges had been filed against one Balwant Singh and an accomplice who had chanted anti-India slogans in Chandigarh within hours of the assassination of Indira Gandhi on 31 October, 1984.
The slogans included "Khalistan Zindabad", "Only the believer shall rule" and "we will drive Hindus out of Punjab; now is the chance to establish our rule".
The Supreme Court bench composed of Justices Faizanuddin and Anand then ruled that mere raising of slogans a couple of times by two individuals did not constitute any threat to India, and observed that "...over-sensitiveness can sometime be counter-productive and can invite trouble."
The police, the bench said, had exhibited "lack of maturity.in arresting the appellants for raising the slogans - which arrest. could have created a law and order situation, keeping in view the tense situation prevailing on the date of the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi".
Commenting on the Kanhaiya Kumar issue, Justice Faizanuddin said: "Every bloody issue goes to the highest level, from the Supreme Court to Parliament. It is meaningless and yet everybody gets involved."
He added: "I am an old-timer, I have old ethics but I don't agree with what's happening today. I will not appreciate a slogan like Pakistan Zindabad. Even there you can take action, but the slogan itself does not amount to sedition. If people raise slogans in support of Afzal Guru or call his hanging 'judicial killing,' let them do so. Just because someone says so, it's not going to affect the judiciary. Let people express their opinion. Be large-hearted."
He also said: "By not ignoring such slogans (those raised on JNU campus) we have enlarged their significance. If nobody would have taken notice of the JNU issue nothing would have happened. What will we lose if we ignore them?"