05-27-2022     3 رجب 1440

Sedition Law Relief ?

May 13, 2022 |

The Supreme Court’s order to stop the Centre from using the sedition law till such time as it completes its exercise to re-examine the provision that exists under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), should be seen as an important development, especially in the context of Jammu and Kashmir, where until a short while ago, anti-government protests were the norm rather than the exception.

In Jammu and Kashmir, currently there are 25 cases registered under the colonial-era (19th century) sedition law and all were filed between the years 2015 and 2019. Of these 25 cases, 12 cases of sedition were filed in 2018, while 11 have been filed during governor’s rule following conversion of the erstwhile state into a union territory (UT) after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
Section 124A currently defines sedition as: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which (a) fine may be added…”
The provision also contains three parts (1) The expression “disaffection” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity; (2) Comments expressing disapproval on moral grounds of government measures and attempting to legally obtain their alteration, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection and (3) Comments expressing disapproval of administrative or other action of the government.
By and large, over the past 132 years, the law on sedition has been frequently used to curb political dissent and courts have largely interpreted the provision in the literal sense so long as it has remained compatible in relation to obeying the lawful government authority.
What is of great significance here is the statistic of 399 sedition cases being filed since 2014, i.e., an average of 40-45 cases per year. It must be recalled here that since 1962, the apex court has consistently attempted to restrict the executive (government) from misusing the sedition law. It has been categorical in its emphasis that unless dissent against the government or its policies leads to incitement or a call for violence, such criticism cannot be termed an act of sedition.
Thus far, the apex court has issued seven guidelines that clearly underline when and why critical speech cannot qualify as sedition.
The Supreme Court’s intervention has to be seen as crucial, as any change its ruling post a government review or a dilution of language in the law to make it more sustainable in the modern context, could result in overturning its previous orders on the liberality of freedom of speech, which is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution.

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Sedition Law Relief ?

May 13, 2022 |

The Supreme Court’s order to stop the Centre from using the sedition law till such time as it completes its exercise to re-examine the provision that exists under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), should be seen as an important development, especially in the context of Jammu and Kashmir, where until a short while ago, anti-government protests were the norm rather than the exception.

In Jammu and Kashmir, currently there are 25 cases registered under the colonial-era (19th century) sedition law and all were filed between the years 2015 and 2019. Of these 25 cases, 12 cases of sedition were filed in 2018, while 11 have been filed during governor’s rule following conversion of the erstwhile state into a union territory (UT) after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
Section 124A currently defines sedition as: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which (a) fine may be added…”
The provision also contains three parts (1) The expression “disaffection” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity; (2) Comments expressing disapproval on moral grounds of government measures and attempting to legally obtain their alteration, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection and (3) Comments expressing disapproval of administrative or other action of the government.
By and large, over the past 132 years, the law on sedition has been frequently used to curb political dissent and courts have largely interpreted the provision in the literal sense so long as it has remained compatible in relation to obeying the lawful government authority.
What is of great significance here is the statistic of 399 sedition cases being filed since 2014, i.e., an average of 40-45 cases per year. It must be recalled here that since 1962, the apex court has consistently attempted to restrict the executive (government) from misusing the sedition law. It has been categorical in its emphasis that unless dissent against the government or its policies leads to incitement or a call for violence, such criticism cannot be termed an act of sedition.
Thus far, the apex court has issued seven guidelines that clearly underline when and why critical speech cannot qualify as sedition.
The Supreme Court’s intervention has to be seen as crucial, as any change its ruling post a government review or a dilution of language in the law to make it more sustainable in the modern context, could result in overturning its previous orders on the liberality of freedom of speech, which is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution.


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Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.