In the case of A.K Gopalan vs. the State of Madras, it was observed that “Man, as a rational being, desires to do many things, but in civil  society his desires have to be controlled, regulated and reconciled with the exercise of similar desires by other individuals. Liberty has, therefore to be limited to effectively possessed”. 

Sedition is defined as an overt act that aims to encourage rebellion against the lawful authority or the government. It is differentiated from treason in a way that the consequences of sedition results in the violation of a public peace or dangers the public interest, however unlike treason it does not incite violence against the laws of the country or any established authority.

In India, Section 124A of the IPC deals with the sedition law, which states that “Whoever, 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 up to three years, to which fine may be added or with fine.”

Initially, Section 124A IPC, was Section 133 of Macaulay’s Draft Penal Code of 1837-39, but due to unaccountable reasons, it was dropped from the main version that was adopted in 1860. In 1870, the statute was redrafted wherein Section 124A was added as a means to counter anti-colonial sentiments in the British era. Many freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak were charged under the same section. When the first amendment bill came into force in the Constitution of India, the law of sedition was considered “highly objectionable and obnoxious” by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. 

The internet and social media has become a significant tool for individuals to enjoy their right to freedom of speech and expression, and exchange their ideas and information. This helps bring change, equality, respect, justice, etc, to the country. And so, social media users are very often charged for sedition in India. For instance, a youth in 2016 was charged under sedition for posting disparaging remarks on Facebook against the Haryana government, BJP and the RSS. A free speech activist Aseem Trivedi, in 2012 was charged under sedition for posting caricatures that mocked Parliament on Facebook. Another recent 2020 example is of Amulya Leona, who spent four months in jail as she was accused under sedition law for shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ at an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) rally. 

Another prominent case was of Umar Khalid, he was a JNU student who got arrested for sedition in the CAA protests, wherein he gave provocative speeches at two different places and appealed the citizens of our country to come out on the streets and block the roads during President Trump’s visit in India in order to spread the issue on an International level regarding the ill treatment of minorities in India. His speech went viral on the social media followed by women and children taking part in the protest by blocking the roads. After his arrest for sedition, twitter hashtags like #standwithUmarKhalid widely popped up on social media which further led to social protests. 

In majority of the cases, the social media posts in question does not incite hatred or dissatisfaction towards the Indian government. Considering a case involving “I Love Pakistan” Facebook post, along with a photo of the Pakistani flag, for instance. The post does not, either directly or indirectly, apply to the Indian government. Hence, such charges for sedition and arrest for the same are mostly a knee-jerk reaction by the police and established government to appease some groups who are allegedly “Anti-India” criminals on social media posts. The aim of Section 124A is to punish the speeches that are sufficient enough to provoke people to take action against the government with hatred or contempt or dissatisfaction. Therefore, it is wrong on the part of policy makers and the police to use sedition laws to punish the statements that are just a mere criticism of the government. 

Where the threat of sedition laws is widespread among the social media users, it creates a negative impact of the online speeches upon the people that directly affects individual’s fundamental right of speech and expression as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution under Article 19 (1) (a). 

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.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

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