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Why this Army veteran wants sedition law to go

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: July 16, 2021 17:51 IST
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Retired Major General S G Vombatkere, who has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Constitutionality of Section 124 A (Sedition) of the IPC, said on Friday everyone knows what is happening with regard to the usage of the colonial law.

IMAGE: Major General (rtd) S G Vombatkere.

"Everybody knows what's happening. How I feel is not important. How the people are feeling is important," the retired army officer said on Friday, apparently referring to its alleged misuse.

He said journalists have a much better idea of what the people were feeling about the sedition law.

He, however, quipped he is happy like anyone else in the country but refused to speak much about the case saying that the matter was subjudice.

Concerned over "enormous misuse" of the colonial era penal law on sedition, the Supreme Court had on Thursday asked the Centre why it was not repealing the provision used by the British to "silence" people like Mahatma Gandhi to suppress the freedom movement.


Agreeing to examine the pleas filed by Editors Guild of India and Vombatkere, challenging the Constitutionality of Section 124A (sedition) in the IPC, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana had said its main concern was the "misuse of law" leading to rise in the number of cases.

According to Prof Y J Rajendra, president of the Karnataka chapter of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, Vombatkere has been an active human rights activist who also fought for environmental causes.

"Vombatkere is a human rights activist and a member of PUCL. He has done lots of things and his activities are not restricted just to the PUCL," Prof Rajendra said.

Vombatkere had taken part in the Narmada movement with social activist Medha Patkar and led a crusade against the felling of trees in this city.

However, the retired army officer has not only championed the cause of human rights and environment but also made a big mark as a soldier and is an engineer with a PhD in structural dynamics from IIT, Madras.

According to the official Facebook page of the Additional Director General of Public Information of Indian Army, Vombatkere holds the unique honour of being awarded the Guinness Record for designing and executing the construction of the highest bridge in the world over the formidable Khardungla Pass in 1982.

While commanding 16 Border Roads Task Force, he had the rare distinction of planning, designing and executing the construction of the 90 Bailey Bridge on road Leh Chalunka, over the Khardungla Pass at an altitude of 5,602 metres (18,380 ft), the ADGPI wrote on Facebook.

"The bridge was constructed within four days in August 1982 and proved to be the major boon for the movement of vehicular traffic over the world's highest, most difficult and treacherous pass. This marvellous feat found its place in the Guinness Book of World Records," the post said.

The top court had on Thursday agreed to examine a fresh plea by the former army officer challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition law on the ground that it causes "chilling effect" on speech and is an unreasonable restriction on free expression, a fundamental right.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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