On 6th November, 2020, the Gujarat High Court quashed a sedition case registered against a Journalist Dhaval Rajnikant Patel, an editor of online Gujarat news portal Face of Nation for allegedly publishing a report on a possible change in state leadership due to criticism over the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the state.
The bench of justice R.P.Dholaria quashed the matter after Patel filed an ‘unconditional apology’ without admission of any guilt for the ‘allegedly offending article.’
Considering the submissions made by the Counsel for the petitioner, the Court said, “Since the present petitioner is a young Journalist and he has begun his career and that from the deepest corner of his heart, the petitioner has tendered apology as quoted above and therefore, this Court is satisfied with the apology tendered by the petitioner.”
In the May, 2020, a case was booked against Dhavel Patel under Section 124A IPC for sedition and Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act (punishment for false warning) by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) for trying to create unrest in society and also for allegedly publishing his written report on his portal on May 7 titled “Mansukh Mandaviya” called by high command, chances of leadership change in Gujarat.
Therefore, the court with considered opinion has quashed the impugned FIR/proceedings to served order in the interest of justice and has set aside with “caution to the petitioner that as and when he may publish an article in future, no such comments be used against any constitutional functionaries without verification and he shall be cautious of not repeating the same”