Home / News / India /  On sedition law, Centre tells SC it has decided to re-examine, reconsider provisions

The Indian government had told the Supreme Court of India that it has decided to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of sedition law and requested the apex court not to take up the sedition case till the matter is examined by the government. 

In a new affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the union government said, "In the spirit of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of Independence) and the vision of PM Narendra Modi, Government of India has decided to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of Section 124A, Sedition law."

Last year the apex court pointing to its “enormous power of misuse", had asked the Centre why it should not scrap the colonial sedition law that was once used to oppress leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

The Union government on Saturday, 7 May, defended in the Supreme Court the penal law on sedition and the 1962 verdict of a constitution bench upholding its validity.

The government said they have withstood “the test of time" for about six decades and the instances of its abuse would never be a justification of reconsideration.

A bench of three judges – Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli – on 5 May, said that it would hear arguments on 10 May on the legal question of whether the pleas challenging the colonial-era penal law on sedition be referred to a larger bench for reconsidering the 1962 verdict of a five-judge constitution bench in the Kedar Nath Singh case. 

The top court, in 1962, had upheld the validity of the sedition law while attempting to restrict its scope for misuse.

It had held that unless accompanied by incitement or a call for violence, the criticism of the government cannot be construed as a seditious offence.

What is the Sedition Law?

"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 in [India], shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine," reads section 124A (sedition) of the IPC.

(With inputs from PTI)

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