Opposition is Bound to Criticise Bills Detrimental to Citizens: Gandhis to Delhi HC

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Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi said  "to prevent a citizen from expressing a bonafide opinion against any bill or law passed by the government and putting it in the public domain to inform, generate a debate, build public opinion for change/reform is violative of our right to speech."

NEW DELHI — The Opposition is bound by the fundamental duty toward citizens of the country to call out and criticise bills introduced by the ruling government that are “detrimental to the rights of citizens, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi submitted before the Delhi HC, opposing a plea for a hate speech FIR against them in the February 2020 Delhi riots.

The separate affidavits filed by the Gandhis were in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking registration of an FIR against them for alleged hate speeches delivered during anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 protests which led to the Delhi riots in February 2020.

Terming it “Publicity Interest Litigation”, they further stated that “to prevent a citizen from expressing a bonafide opinion against any bill or law passed by the government and putting it in the public domain to inform, generate a debate, build public opinion for change/reform is violative of our right to speech.”

Pointing out that there are no allegations under Section 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), Gandhis said they were selectively picked up while not taking into consideration the speeches made by the members of the ruling party.

“The acts have fallen on independent, nonconformist sections and leaders of the opposition parties. Meanwhile, a series of speeches made by the members of the ruling party, which squarely fall within the gambit of the sections the petitioner seeks to invoke against the answering respondent, have been conveniently left out by the petitioner, revealing the coloured nature of the exercise,” they stated. — IANS

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