India a democracy with room for disagreement: SC

Tells petitioner against ‘Congress toolkit’ to ignore it, terms plea frivolous

The Supreme Court on Monday reminded a person who took offence to a “Congress toolkit” that India is a democracy where he could choose to ignore something he does not like or agree with.

The petitioner, Shashank Shekhar Jha, wanted an National Investigation Agency probe into the toolkit which allegedly dealt with the government’s handling of COVID. Mr. Jha said the Congress party’s registration should be suspended if the “anti-national acts” were proved.

A Bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah found the petition frivolous.

“Mr. Jha, if you don’t like the toolkit, you can ignore the toolkit,” Justice Chandrachud advised the petitioner.

Justice Chandrachud said parties engage in political propaganda, and it was left to each individual to engage with or ignore them.

Mr. Jha, however, referred to how Singapore had objected to “propaganda”.

“Oh… India is a democracy, you know,” Justice Chandrachud replied.

Mr. Jha had even suggested a preliminary enquiry into the toolkit to see if any offences under sedition law or the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were made out.

“The time of the Supreme Court is taken up by such frivolous petitions,” Justice Chandrachud said.

The court allowed the petitioner to withdraw his petition.

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