New Delhi: Former CJI Justice VN Khare has said evidence has to prove sedition charge beyond a shadow of doubt. If the evidence is weak, the High Court can set aside the order, he said. The former CJI spoke to CNN-IBN's Marya Shakil.
CNN-IBN: Do you think Dr Binayak Sen is guilty of sedition?
VN Khare: I haven't seen the judgement and our judicial system is perfect. In case if there is infirmity in the judgement it can be appealed in High Court and then in Supreme Court. If there is an error in judgement it will be corrected by the High Court. So we should have faith in our system.
CNN-IBN: What is really the evidence required for sedition?
VN Khare: In such cases, the evidence required is that state is to prove to hilt that the person is guilty. If there is anything short of that the person can't be convicted.
CNN-IBN: If the verdict is to be challenged what will be the argument that can be put forward?
VN Khare: The matter will go on the evidence, whether the kind of evidence before the trial court is correct. Similarly for sessions court that would be subject of scrutiny if the matter goes before the High Court. Whether the state has been able to provide the evidence enough.
CNN-IBN: The critics are saying that in this particular case the evidence cited is based on flimsy grounds. Is there a misrepresentation of law?
VN Khare: I don't know. But in case the evidence is fragile and is not sustainable, in that case the High Court will look into the matter, find such evidence, rectify and set aside the order.
CNN-IBN: Since sedition laws are very stringent, don't you think the judiciary should be more cautious?
VN Khare: Depends on the kind of evidence they have. If they have perfect evidence, they can go ahead with the prosecution.
Another former Chief Justice of India, Justice AH Ahmadi, also spoke out on the Binayak Sen case
Justice Ahmadi, too, said that evidence in sedition case has to be clinching against the accused.
The first time when I saw the newspaper I was taken aback. The charge is very serious and the punishment prescribed is also very serious. Evidence has to be clinching against the accused . If proof is weak I would not expect court to sustain conviction. In deciding such cases judiciary should show great concern," he said.