Sedition over anti-CAA drama: Court asks to take action against cops questioned students

The Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the police to take disciplinary action against the officers who had violated the Juvenile Justice Act while questioning school students in connection with a sedition case.

In 2020, the students belonging to Shaheen Education Society in Karnataka’s Bidar district were questioned about a play that took a critical look at the anti-Muslim and unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Act. Following that, an FIR was registered at the Bidar New Town police station, for sedition against the school authorities for performing “anti-national activities” and “spreading negative opinion” about PM Narendra Modi and Parliamentary laws, based on a complaint by Hindutva activist Nilesh Rakshala. The Headmistress of the school, as well as a parent of a child, was arrested. They were later released on bail.

Videos of the interrogation showed police officers dressed in their uniforms and carrying firearms during the questioning.

Last month, the High Court had in its order made a prima facie observation that the presence of policemen in their uniforms, carrying weapons, while interrogating children with regard to the sedition case was a serious violation of the provisions under the Juvenile Justice(Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, reported Live Law.

The HC also had directed the state government to file an affidavit stating on record what action had been initiated against the said police officers.

The matter will be next heard on October 21. The court said: “We will keep this pending and we will monitor it. You have recommended the matter for departmental inquiry so we will keep it pending and monitor it.”