The laws related to sedition in India has been defined in section 124A of the IPC. The law has been criticised ever since it was brought in India by the Britishers still it acts as a tool to curb free speech of the people by many governments for reasons which are similar to our former oppressive rules. The offence of sedition is still constitutional in India even after the provisions of freedom of speech and expression in the constitution. It would be correct to say that post-independence, India is very different from colonial India in every aspect, thus carrying on with this archaic law which puts restriction on freedom and speech of the citizens acts as mere carriers of the dark colonial past. Moreover, all the developed countries, including the UK, no more recognised such regressive laws.
Thus, India a country where freedom of speech and liberty thrives at the core of constitution has not yet manifested it is intended of declaring the law as constitutional. Further in the recent years the country has witnessed sharp rise in the cases of sedition against innocent victims, be it a renowned Indian author, a talented cartoonist or some innocent children of school, all have been innocent victims of supposedly draconian law, all of these reasons have made it important to carefully study the law and measure its pros and cons.
The core element of the sedition act is bringing or attempting to bring, contempt, hatred or disaffection towards the government. Following is the language of the section; “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. It is clear from plain reading of the section that four elements are required to evoke the section;
1. A person must bring or attempt to bring hatred or contempt or disaffection.
2. Such contempt must be targeted against the government of India.
3. The said hatred or disaffection may be caused by words (written or spoken) or by
signs or by visible representation.
4. The said words must not just be fair criticism of policies or actions of the government
(as given in explanation of the section)
It is clear that the section has been couched in the broadest possible language to give it a wide-ranging scope. Thus, to prove the act of sedition against any individual it is necessary to prove that in impugned words were uttered with the “intention” of In-sighting hatred and such intention must be caused by the standards of a reasonable man. Such a wide-ranging scope of the act gave the Britishers the power to retain prominent leaders of the national movement like Bal Gangadhar tilak, mahatma Gandhi, Annie Besant etc as and when they liked. Well now the important thing to note here and which has been sighted many times by the criticisers of the law is that we are now in a post independent India and the very reason for which this archaic and draconian law was made, to curb free speech of those who speak against the government, is what India’s law makers wanted India to stand against. They made us a democratic country and gave us the freedom of speech (article 19 of fundamental right) so that the citizens can freely speak.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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