The Gujarat High Court has quashed five cases of sedition filed against the Times Of India newspaper's Ahmedabad edition in June 2008 by the then police commissioner O P Mathur, saying the articles that prompted the cases did not constitute sedition.
"The articles are strongly worded criticism and comment with intention to improve the condition and not to incite violence or disaffection among people. Hence they do not fall in the ambit of sedition," Justice Harsha Devani ruled while setting aside the cases yesterday.
"They are just a strong comments on wisdom of the government in appointing Mathur on basis of past incidents as found in CBI records," the court said, adding there was also no case for defamation.
The newspaper had run a series of articles from May 27 to June 1, soon after Mathur, now retired, was appointed as city police commissioner, questioning his appointment and alleged links with city-based mafia don Abdul Latif, besides how he handled various cases.
It had alleged that the Narendra Modi government, particularly the then Minister of State for Home Amit Shah had rewarded Mathur for botching up the Sohrabuddin fake encounter investigation.
Taking exception to these articles, Mathur had filed five sedition cases against the resident editor of the newspaper's Ahmedabad edition and the reporter.
Mathur has been appointed as director general of government-run Raksha Shakti University after his retirement.
Amit Shah is out on bail after being arrested by the CBI in connection with the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case and has been restrained from entering Gujarat by the Supreme Court.