Vijay Maharaj loses Privy Council appeal of decades old sedition legislation

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Vijay Maharaj loses Privy Council appeal of decades old sedition legislation

Vijay Maharaj, the son of former Maha Sabha secretary-general Sat Maharaj has lost his final appeal in his late father’s legal challenge against this country’s colonial-age sedition legislation.

In a ruling delivered on Thursday morning, five Law Lords of the United Kingdom-based Privy Council dismissed the appeal from Vijay Maharaj, who was allowed to continue the case after his father’s passing in late 2019.

In the appeal, Maharaj’s son claimed that three Court of Appeal Judges got it wrong in 2021 when they overturned High Court Judge Frank Seepersad’s decision to strike down aspects of the legislation, which he ruled were unconstitutional.

The Privy Council agreed with the Court of Appeal that the legislation is consistent with the Constitution.

Maharaj filed the lawsuit after police executed search warrants on the SDMS’s media house Central Broadcasting Services Limited (CBSL) after he made a series of incendiary statements on his Maha Sabha Strikes Back programme on TV Jaagriti on April 15, 2019.

Maharaj claimed that citizens living in Tobago are lazy and labelled the men as rapists.

While no criminal charges were eventually brought against him or CBSL, he suggested that such was inevitable while addressing supporters during SDMS Indian Arrival Day celebrations that year.

The State’s legal team was led by Fyard Hosein, SC, and Rishi Dass, SC.

Maharaj’s son was represented by Peter Knox, KC, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, Jagdeo Singh, Dinesh Rambally, Kiel Taklalsingh, Stefan Ramkissoon, and Rhea Khan.