Sedition

India is one of the biggest democracies in the world standing on basic pillars of legislature, executive and judiciary. The role of the branches is make the law ,execute the law and protect the law but do all the laws present now a days need to be protected or there are some of them which now had to be amended. Section 124 A of Indian Penal Code talks about the law of sedition .It says “any person 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”.

The law was originally drafted in 1837 by Lord Macaulay but omitted when IPC is drafted in 1860, but in 1870 Sir James Stephan inserted it to deal with the freedom movement. The law of sedition is one of the best tools of British arsenal to tackle with the freedom fighters .Bal Gangadhar Tilak become the first freedom fighter to be convicted with sedition in the British India because of his article in Kesari some other examples are Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh ,Jawharlal Nehru and many others. In Tara Singh Gopi Chand Vs The State ,the validity of sedition was tested for the first time in independent India ,In which the High Court held that sedition acts as one of the restriction in the right of freedom of speech and expression as the result Nehru’s government has to introduce new grounds on which rights of freedom of speech and expression has to be restricted. Than in 1954, Debi Soren & Ors Vs The State, the Patna High Court upheld the validity of citizen saying it does not violates the rights given in Article 19, Than in Ram Nandan  v. State ,Allahabad high court declared it void and said government has to be ready to face the opposition. Than in 1962, Supreme Court in Kedar Nath case, upheld the validity of sedition law in IPC said that sedition was to prevent the government established by law from being subverted.

Sedition helps the government in dealing with anti-national and terrorist element which protects the government to be thrown by force and illegal means, but the term “disaffection”  is not clear on the subject which results in different interpretation which abolish the right of citizen and question the government which is the fundamental idea of democracy and on the other hand Indian Penal Code has provisions to deal with disrupting of public order and overthrowing the government with violence and illegal means which are sufficient to protect the nation. So, why the sedition law is still required as it could be easily misused to promote dictatorship in any democratic country that’s why British who put this law to supress freedom fighters has themselves abolish this law from their country similarly in Australia on the recommendation of Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) the term sedition was removed and replaced with references to ‘urging violence offenses’.

Law commission once said “an expression of frustration over the state of affairs cannot be treated as sedition”. India being one of the largest democracies in the world with the Key ingredient of Freedom of Speech has to be open for positive criticism. Although it is also essential to protect the integrity of nation but, it shouldn’t be used as a mode to supress the freedom of speech of citizens .

REFERENCES

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/the-sedition-story-complicated-history-of-sec-124a-101626370928612.html

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