The Supreme Court has given tacit clearance for the investigation into the allegation of sedition against two vernacular channels that been supporting Narsapuram MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in their attempt to “excite disaffection towards the A P Government”. The two channels approached the apex court with a petition to quash the investigation into the sedition case.
The two media channels (TV5 and ABN-Andhra Jyothi) have been “indiscriminately” telecasting the statements made my Mr Raju “consistently and consciously with a mala fide intent, abusing his authority and reach as a public person with the sole intention of creating enmity between various classes and inciting hatred toward the Jagan Mohan Reddy Government.”
These two channels dubbed as “yellow media” have allotted nearly one hour every day to Mr Raju allowing him to say what he pleased about Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy continuously for over a month.The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) produced over 40 videos telecast by the two channels, as evidence and booked sedition cases against them along with the Mr Raju.
The Supreme Court observing that there was no need to define the scope of offences under Sections 124A(Sedition) and 153 A (promotion of communal hatred) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), especially in the context of media freedom rejected the plea of the media channels to stay the CID investigation into sedition.
Last week Mr Raju managed to get a conditional bail in the sedition case from the apex court after charging the CID of custodial violence.The CID submitted to the court that the injuries were “self inflicted”.
Though bail is not usually granted for those charged with sedition the apex court issued Mr Raju a conditional bail on health grounds. The court made it very clear that bail would be cancelled if the petitioner (Mr Raju) did not appear before the CID within 24 hours of being served a notice.
Though the apex court allowed Mr Raju to be treated for injuries caused by the allegedly third degree torture of CID, at the Secunderabad Military hospital, Mr Raju got himself shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi saying his condition was deteriorating.
As if the Army doctors were not competent the specialists in AIIMS declared that Mr Raju’s foot muscles suffered extensive damage and covered both feet, from shin to toe, in what appears like a Pastor of Paris bandage. It has now become clear that Mr Raju got himself shifted to AIIMS as he had influence there and could also lobby with the Union Ministers.
Though Mr Raju was prescribed two weeks bed rest, he has been going round in a wheelchair meeting important people. He wasted no time in meeting Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to complain against doctors of the Secunderabad Military Hospital. A day later he met National Human Rights Commission Chairman P C Pant and complained against the CID.
Though the apex court has ordered that Mr Raju should not approach the media under any circumstances footage of the MP being wheeled in to meet important people is being telecast by the ‘yellow media’. Legal experts are examining if this was a violation of the bail to support the charge that Mr Raju was making a bid to topple the Andhra Pradesh .
The “thin line” between airing dissent and supporting sedition by media had become a topic of debate amongst media pundits.