- What is the Sedition Law?Section 124A of the IPC says that whoever excites or attempts to excite disaffection against a legally-elected government will face imprisonment which can extend up to life.”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.
- What exactly is the issue?The
Court is hearing a clutch of pletitions against the British-era law for its alleged misuse and its effect on limiting free speech which is against the fundamental right. The Editors Guilt of India is one of the petitioners. The Chief Justice of India, last year, had asked if the law, which was used by the Britishers to suppress freedom, needed after 75 years?What is the Supreme Court’s 1962 judgment on Sedition Law?The 1962 judgment of a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had upheld the validity of the Sedition Law. in the Kedar Nath case, the Supreme Court observed that the contiunuation of the legally-elected government is an essential condition for the stability of the state and acts within the meaning of Section 124A which intend to suvert the government by exciting disaffection would attract penal provision.
- What is the conviction rate?The convicition rate under the Sedition Law is very low. In fact, that is one of the major bones of contention that the law is only a tool to harass opponents and a low conviction rate proves that. In 2020, 73 cases of Sedition were filed but not a single person was convicted, according to NCRB data.
- Who are some of the people against whom the Sedition case has been filed?Disha Ravi, Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Siddique Kapan, Sudha Bharadwaj are some of the names against whom a sedition case was slapped.
- What does the government’s latest affidavit say?The home ministry has asked for some time from the top court for reconsidering the law before an appropriate forum. The ministry referred to the views of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on shedding colonial baggage and said he has been in favour of the protection of civil liberties and respect of human rights. In that spirit, the ministry said, over 1,500 outdated laws and over 25,000 compliance burdens have been scrapped.
Source: Economic Times