Sedition decision ‘misuse’ of laws : Amartya Sen

By Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen

I am very upset about the court decision in Chhattisgarh about Binayak Sen. It is a huge perversion of our system of justice, and particularly of the laws concerning sedition. It’s not at all clear, to start with, that the thing he has been exactly accused of — of passing letters — has been really proved beyond doubt. Secondly, even if this were correct, that doesn’t amount to sedition. He hasn’t killed anyone, he hasn’t incited anyone to rise in violent protest or rebellion. In fact, we know that in his writings he has written against the use of violence in political struggle, arguing that this is neither correct, nor is it ultimately successful. So, I think, even if this is the case — that the exact thing he is accused of is exactly what they are saying it is, which is by no means clear — even then the charge of sedition does not stand. Thirdly, in exercising any kind of judgment, one has to take into account the character of the person. In this case, Binayak Sen is a very dedicated social worker, working extremely hard for the welfare of some of the most neglected people in the world. He has dedicated his life to doing that rather than having the prosperous, successful life of a doctor, and making a lot of money. So his dedication is not in doubt. To turn the dedicated service of someone who drops everything to serve the cause of neglected people into a story of the seditious use of something — in this case, it appears to be the passing of a letter, when sedition usually takes the form of inciting people to violence or actually committing some violence and asking others to follow, none of which had happened — the whole thing seems a ridiculous use of the laws of democratic India.

Dr. Binayak Sen

This is part of a legal process, and we have to bear in mind that this is only the first step in a state which has been extraordinarily keen in keeping Binayak Sen behind bars. And the legal process will not stop there. If the high court in Chhattisgarh has its thinking straight and unbiased, it will overturn the decision. But if it turns out that — as it happened in Gujarat — justice is difficult to get in the state, which is under the control of a political regime that is keen on justifying its policies, some of which are very deeply problematic, rather than bringing justice to people living in Chhattisgarh, then the issue will have to be dealt with at the central level, that is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has shown, time and again, that it is very committed to the fundamental rights of all human beings, and I don’t doubt that if Chhattisgarh is left in this utterly unsatisfactory state we will get satisfaction from the Supreme Court. So, I am not suggesting that we overrule the judicial system in any way. But the reasoning that makes many concerned citizens think that this is a deep miscarriage of justice should be aired and should be known to the people as well as the court. That is the reason for my willingness to make a statement in a case where I am outraged, upset, and feel unjustly treated. As Rabindranath Tagore said, the maltreatment of any human being is a mistreatment of me as well. I do feel as if I had been mistreated. I hope to make it clear that in spite of the similarities of our names, Binayak Sen is no relation of mine. But then he is also a relation of mine as an Indian citizen, and he is a relation of yours too as an Indian citizen. He is a relation of a lot of people as a global citizen, particularly a relation of those who, like him, fight against injustice in the world, right across the globe.


Courtesy: The Telegraph, December 28 , 2010, Photo from Anandabazar Patrika
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5 Responses to “Sedition decision ‘misuse’ of laws : Amartya Sen”

  1. Madhusudan Mahato 28 December 2010 at 11:34 AM #

    I support the views of Amartya Sen.

  2. Dwijapada Bouri 29 December 2010 at 12:08 PM #

    Congratulation to Mr. Amartya Sen for his brief comment about Dr. Binayak Sen’s matter.

  3. A K Bairagi 29 December 2010 at 11:14 PM #

    Thank You Mr Sen. I agree with You very much.

    Moreover I think that a Doctor’s job is only to treat the patient, not to judge who is thief, who is poor, who is rich, who is maoist etc. It is for the administration department.

    that is I think Mr Binayak Sen must be released.

  4. pronay mondal 31 December 2010 at 4:15 PM #

    Ami Mr Sen er sange ekmot.Mr Sen k suvechha o avinandan janai.

  5. Rajesh 17 January 2011 at 6:52 PM #

    Down With the Capitalism
    Down with the State Oppression.

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