Sedition is often in news so we will discuss about that in this article. Sedition is defined in section 124 A of Indian Penal Code which says that whoever by words either spoken written or by signs or divisible representation
Creates hatred or contempt or disaffection towards the government established by law, then I can be booked under sedition. Let us say I am speaking something in front of you or I’m writing something maybe I’m posting in Facebook, twitter or I’m holding a placard or some banner in the road or I’m protesting anything then I can be imprisoned up to lifetime under sedition. This doesn’t mean that I should not speak anything against the government or should not go for constructive criticism against the government decisions or policies.
It says that your criticism or your action results in violence then you may be booked in sedition. However, it is constitutionally valid because it is restricting my freedom for expressions. This case went to supreme court in 1962 where in Kedarnath Singh V State of Bihar case, supreme court upheld the constitutional validity of sedition and it said that reasonable restrictions can be imposed; we are going to use sedition only when it is going to result in violence. The problem is whether the action is going to create violence or not will be decided by the police. Imagine that I am saying something, or I am shouting something or I am protesting in roads. One police official assumes that my action is going to create violence and he might book me under sedition; maybe other police official might see me, and he might think that whatever he speaks is constructive criticism only so he may allow me to speak. So it is the law enforcement agencies that are going to book me under sedition, based on their subjective feeling or their internal will they are going to take action, so this might result in harassment.
In 2012, Bombay High Court came with guidelines on how a police officer should book a case under sedation. Later in many judgments the court they said that before even booking a person under sedition kindly get some advice from the legal officer. Actually. this sedition concept was introduced by Britishers to control our national movement. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru were all booked under sedition when they speak against the British government. Unfortunately, we are continuing this till today but Britishers stopped using this tradition from 2010.
During covid time, many social activists were criticizing the government on their efforts to control the Covid-19. There were instances where some people were booked under sedition. The supreme court was intervening and they were saying that sedition should be used very carefully, it is high time that we are creating a proper set of guidelines to use this sedition. It should not be used to control the expression of the citizen.
Following the KedarNath case, the Bombay High Court, in the case of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi (2012), issued guidelines which the police must follow prior to invoking the provisions of sedition. These include an objective evaluation of the material to form an opinion on whether the words and actions cause disaffection, enmity, and disloyalty to the government as they must be of the magnitude that they incite violence or tend to create public disorder. The Court also directed obtaining a legal opinion in writing from a law officer of the district who must give reasons on how the pre-conditions are met. This needs to be followed by a second opinion from the State’s public prosecutor.
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.
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