H Raja, national secretary of the BJP, has said the Representation of the People Act should be amended to include sedition as an offence that will disqualify a man from holding or running for any public office.
Referring to the nomination filed by Marumalarchi DMK general secretary Vaiko in the RS polls from Tamil Nadu Assembly a day after he was convicted of sedition by a special court, Raja in a statement said the RP Act should be amended to disqualify such members.
Expressing surprise that sedition is among the range of offences listed by the RP Act that will bar a member from contesting or disqualify him if convicted, Raja said it was time to amend it.
He said the special court had convicted Vaiko, holding that the speech made on the launch of his book “Naan Koottam Kaattugiren”( Tamil version of the English book ”I accuse”), amounted to sedition. And yet, he was being sent to Rajya Sabha because of the lacunae in the RP Act, he said
Vaiko did not deny the speech, but however contested the finding that it amounted to inciting disaffection or contempt towards the Government. He said only sounded a warning that if India aided the Sri Lankan’s army against the LTTE in the civil war and the resultant death of innocent Tamil civilians it would endanger the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Raja said Vaiko did not even seek for leniency. This is again a half truth. Vaiko only said if he was indeed guilty of sedition, he was ready to face the maximum punishment under the law. The issue is yet to be settled as the special court has suspended the sentence to enable Vaiko to appeal against the verdict in the Madras High Court.