Sedition in India – Part 2

The constitutionality of the sedition law has been challenged in court many times and there have been a few landmark cases where the court had tried to outline the scope of the law so that it is not misused against the citizens. In spite of this we have seen number of examples where innocent citizens have suffered just because they criticized the government, let us have a look at important cases and judgements.

One of the most significant case is the case of Kedar Nath vs State of Bihar. The landmark judgement given in this case forms the primary precedent which is relied to adjudicate events of sedition. It is also used to define the essence of section 124A of the IPC 1860. The constitutionality of the section 124A of the IPC was challenged in this case as the petitioners contended that the law was against article 19 (1) (a) of the Indian constitution. The supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the section 124A and undifferentiated between disloyalty to the state and merely criticising the acts or policies of the government without inciting public disorder through acts of violence. In another case of nazir khan vs state of Delhi. The court held that that the objects of sedition generally are to induce discontent and insurrection and stir up opposition to the government, and bring the administration of justice into contempt; and the very tendency of sedition is to incite the people to insurrection and
rebellion. In other word’s actual violence is not needed to establish the charge of sedition.

Next significant case is that of Balwant Singh vs state of Punjab, in this case supreme court held that the casual raising of slogans by two individuals without any intention of creating disaffection against the government or to incite violence or disorder in the public does not attract sections like 124A and 153A, however if there is intent to incite violence or public disorder then such slogans are unconstitutional.

It is therefore important to note that to establish the charge of sedition against any individual there must be enough evidence or record to prove that there has been an attempt to create disaffection for the government coupled with intention of incitement of violence or public disorder, mere expressing of disapprobation toward the government does not amount to sedition. in spite of the Specific definition and scope decided by the apex court to prove sedition against any individual in the court, the executive has misused the section and there can be seen a rise in registration of cases relating to sedition.

Recent cases: in 2012, in Sanskar Marathe vs state of Maharashtra and others cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was arrested with sedition charges for making cartoons mocking constitution and parliament as part of the India against corruption movement. In this case, Bombay high court laid down guidelines for the police while invoking sedition law against any person. In 2010 Arundhati Roy and Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani were arrested allegedly making anti India speeches at a conference on “Azadi”.

In one recent case sixty students from Meerut university were suspended for cheering Pakistan in a cricket match, they were also charged under sedition but later the charges were dropped.

The case of Kanhaiya Kumar is known to all because in that case the sedition law came under
There are numerous cases like these where innocent people on merely criticising the
government have suffered. Moreover, the offence of sedition is a cognizable, non-bailable
and non-compoundable offence which can be tried only by a court of session. Punishment
under the law varies from 3 years to imprisonment for life and fine. The person charged
under the law cannot apply for a government job and have to live without their passport and
must present themselves in court as and when required. The punishment has been made more
stringent as originally the offence was non-cognizable and was made cognizable in 1973, the
important thing is that even if a man gets bail the next day from court, he has to suffer the
consequences of being to jail. Thus, after looking out and analysing every aspect of this law,
it would be better to scrap the law, as India is a democratic country and for democracy to
flourish, the voice of people should never be stifled.

Aishwarya Says:

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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