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Sedition Law Is Colonial Law Do We Still Need In India After 75 Years Of Independence Asks Sc

Rajiv Sinha, Amar Ujala, New Delhi

Published by: Prashant Kumar
Updated Thu, 15 Jul 2021 12:33 PM IST

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The Supreme Court said that the situation is so bad that if any government or party does not want to listen to anyone’s voice, then it will use this law against those people.

Sedition law: Supreme Court seeks response from Center
– Photo : AMAR UJALA

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The Supreme Court on Thursday heard a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the anti-sedition law. The top court said that this law is from the British era. The British used this law to crush the freedom movement. This law was used to suppress the voice of personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Do we need such a law even after 75 years of independence? Our concern is about the misuse of this law. This law is a serious threat to individuals and institutions.

Actually, this matter is related to Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code i.e. IPC. This section decides the punishment in the case of treason. Under this, there is a provision of maximum punishment of life imprisonment. Retired Army Major General SG Wombatkere has filed a petition challenging this section. He argues in the petition that this section affects the freedom of speech. The Editors Guild of India has also filed such a petition. The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Central Government on both the petitions and sought their response.

5 important observations of the Supreme Court during the hearing

  • Chief Justice NV Ramana said that the government is abolishing many laws, then why is it not considering this anti-sedition law?
  • When we look at the history of the law, we find that it has been used dangerously in the same way that a carpenter should cut down the whole forest instead of cutting down a single tree with his saw.
  • Under Section 124-A, there are so many powers that a police officer can also impose a section of sedition against anyone in cases like playing cards or gambling.
  • The situation is so bad that if any government or party does not want to listen to anyone’s voice, it will use this law against those people. This is a serious question before the people.
  • Why does the central government not remove this law of the British era?
Center’s argument – there is no need to completely repeal the provision

During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the central government, said that the provision of this law need not be completely repealed, but certainly norms can be laid down to prevent its misuse. He said a separate bench headed by Justice UU Lalit had earlier also issued notice on a similar petition. The matter has been fixed for hearing on July 27. This case can also be linked with that. However, the top court continued with its observations on the misuse of the provision.

The Law Commission had suggested to reconsider
In a report of the Law Commission in 2018, some things were said on Section 124-A. It suggested that this section should be used only if there has been any activity with an intention to disturb the law and order situation and to remove the government by violent or unlawful means.

In 10 years, cases of sedition were registered against 11 thousand people.
In February this year, the report of Article-14.com, a research organization related to the country’s law and order, says that between 2010 and 2020, 816 cases of sedition were registered against 11 thousand people in the country. Of these, 65 per cent cases have been registered after 2014.

Detailed

The Supreme Court on Thursday heard a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the anti-sedition law. The top court said that this law is from the British era. The British used this law to crush the freedom movement. This law was used to suppress the voice of personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Do we need such a law even after 75 years of independence? Our concern is about the misuse of this law. This law is a serious threat to individuals and institutions.

Actually, this matter is related to Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code i.e. IPC. This section decides the punishment in the case of treason. Under this, there is a provision of maximum punishment of life imprisonment. Retired Army Major General SG Wombatkere has filed a petition challenging this section. He argues in the petition that this section affects the freedom of speech. The Editors Guild of India has also filed such a petition. The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Central Government on both the petitions and sought their response.

5 important observations of the Supreme Court during the hearing

  • Chief Justice NV Ramana said that the government is abolishing many laws, then why is it not considering this anti-sedition law?
  • When we look at the history of the law, we find that it has been used dangerously in the same way that a carpenter should cut down the whole forest instead of cutting down a single tree with his saw.
  • Under Section 124-A, there are so many powers that a police officer can also impose a section of sedition against anyone in cases like playing cards or gambling.
  • The situation is so bad that if any government or party does not want to listen to anyone’s voice, it will use this law against those people. This is a serious question before the people.
  • Why does the central government not remove this law of the British era?

Center’s argument – there is no need to completely repeal the provision

During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the central government, said that the provision of this law need not be completely repealed, but certainly norms can be laid down to prevent its misuse. He said a separate bench headed by Justice UU Lalit had earlier also issued notice on a similar petition. The matter has been fixed for hearing on July 27. This case can also be linked with that. However, the top court continued with its observations on the misuse of the provision.

The Law Commission had suggested to reconsider

In a report of the Law Commission in 2018, some things were said on Section 124-A. It suggested that this section should be used only if there has been any activity with an intention to disturb the law and order situation and to remove the government by violent or unlawful means.

In 10 years, cases of sedition were registered against 11 thousand people.

In February this year, the report of Article-14.com, a research organization related to the country’s law and order, says that between 2010 and 2020, 816 cases of sedition were registered against 11 thousand people in the country. Of these, 65 per cent cases have been registered after 2014.

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