Active Stocks
Tue Apr 16 2024 15:59:30
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 160.05 -0.53%
  1. Infosys share price
  2. 1,414.75 -3.65%
  1. NTPC share price
  2. 359.40 -0.54%
  1. State Bank Of India share price
  2. 751.90 -0.65%
  1. HDFC Bank share price
  2. 1,509.40 0.97%
Business News/ Politics / Policy/  IPC to Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023: 'Subversive activities’ replaces ‘sedition’ | Key changes
BackBack

IPC to Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023: 'Subversive activities’ replaces ‘sedition’ | Key changes

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced three bills in Lok Sabha to replace British-era laws and overhaul the criminal justice system in India. One of the bills aims to repeal the offence of sedition completely. The sedition law, drafted in 1837, has been criticized for being a colonial legacy.

The sedition act pertains to criminals offences which ‘endanger sovereignty unity and integrity of India’. Premium
The sedition act pertains to criminals offences which ‘endanger sovereignty unity and integrity of India’.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday introduced three bills in the Lok Sabha which aims to replace British-era laws in a bid to overhaul the criminal justice system in India. While several draconian British era laws have been critcised over the years including the contentious Article 377, criminalising of indigenous communities, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), several bills and laws, and Supreme Court verdicts later, changes have been enforced. 

The latest in this list are three bills that the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023 that have been introduced by Amit Shah in Lok Sabha. 

Among them was the much debated- Sedition Act. The sedition act pertains to criminals offences which ‘endanger sovereignty unity and integrity of India’. 

Amit Shah in Lok Sabha mentioned that the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 will repeal the offence of sedition under Section 124A. This section will be replaced with Section 150 in the new bill.

Sedition Law in India

The sedition law was drafted by Thomas Macaulay in 1837 and was added to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 1870 by James Stephen as Section 124A.

According to Section 124A, the sedition law states that, “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 fine may be added."

This means that if any citizen of Indian sub-continent uses their words, whether that is written or verbal, or by visible representation that is through posters, movies, images etc attempts to incite hatred for India will be punished under the sedition law. 

In present scenario, the Sedition law is invoked as a crime under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Stay on Sedition

The Supreme Court in 11 May 2022, stayed Section 124A. The bench led by the then-CJI N V Ramana stated that the sedition law, enacted to prosecute freedom fighters and maintain colonial rule over the nation, has since been misused owing to its broad interpretation and it shall not be used until further orders were issued by the court.

Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

A new bill to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will repeal the offence of sedition completely, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told Lok Sabha on Friday. The IPC, which was framed by the British in the year 1860, has been the core of the criminal justice system of the country for more than 160 years.

‘Subversive activities’ replaces ‘Sedition’ in new bill by Amit Shah

According to the new bill introduced by Amit Shah, Section 150 states, “Whoever, purposely or knowingly, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or by electronic communication or by use of financial mean, or otherwise, excites or attempts to excite, secession or armed rebellion or subversive activities, or encourages feelings of separatist activities or endangers sovereignty or unity and integrity of India; or indulges in or commits any such act shall be punished with imprisonment for life or with imprisonment which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine."

The word Sedition means- a conduct or speech that incites people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

The word subversive means- tending or intending to overthrow, destroy, or undermine an established or existing system, especially a legally constituted government or a set of beliefs.

Notably, the punishment that was drafted under the sedition law included ‘im­prisonment for life, to which fine may be added’, and the punishment that has been drafted in the new bill is ‘imprisonment for life or with imprisonment which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine’. 

The criticism that this might inculcate is that the word sedition has only been replaced by subversive unlike what was stated that the new bill, if made into law, will completely do away with offence of sedition. 

A common basis of criticism that sedition law faced till date was that the law is a ‘colonial legacy’ – it was used by the British to stifle rebellion among Indians. Earlier, the Law Commission had ruled that this is not valid grounds for the repealing of the law.

Criticism of the sedition law had been incited by the Supreme Court who had said, "“criticism of the government exciting disaffection or bad feelings towards it, is not to be regarded as a justifying ground for restricting the freedom of expression and of the press, unless it is such as to undermine the security of or tend to overthrow the state."

The high courts of Punjab and Haryana have also said that the law was merely a tool for the ‘colonial masters’ to control the masses and prevent them from speaking up, declaring that the provisions were ‘unconstitutional’, as reported by Outlook

 

Unlock a world of Benefits! From insightful newsletters to real-time stock tracking, breaking news and a personalized newsfeed – it's all here, just a click away! Login Now!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sayantani Biswas
Sayantani is an editor with Livemint. She covers stories of International and Indian politics, conflict
Catch all the Politics News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
More Less
Published: 11 Aug 2023, 04:55 PM IST
Next Story footLogo
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App