Mumbai: The Maharashtra government on Friday dropped sedition charge against cartoonist Aseem Trivedi.
The decision to drop the charges against Trivedi was conveyed to Bombay high court on October 12, said a senior home department official.
"The advocate general (AG), in his advice to the state government, has written that sedition charges slapped on the cartoonist should be dropped. Accordingly, the police have been instructed to make the changes in Trivedi's case," the home department official said, adding, "The controversial cartoonist will now be chargesheeted for dishonoring the national symbols, emblem and parliament."
According to legal experts if Trivedi is booked under Section 2 (insult to national flag and Indian Constitution) of Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act 1971, then the cartoonist may be punished with imprisonment for a term extending to 3 years maximum or a fine or both. was first to report that the AG has advised the state government to drop sedition charges against the cartoonist.
Early this month, home minister R R Patil along with Addl CP (West)Vishwas Nangre-Patil had a meeting with the India Against Corruption (IAC) spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon on the Trivedi issue. It was then decided that the chargesheet in Trivedi case should be filed only after the receiving the AG's advice in the case. "The AG's opinion has been received. Now the police department will expedite the process to file chargesheet," the official added. The court has directed the state to file a reply explaining why sedition charges were slapped on the cartoonist. The next hearing in the Trivedi case is scheduled on Friday.