Is Sedition Law Necessary in India

Venugopal was referring to the bail granted Wednesday to Amravati MP Navneet Rana and her husband, MP Ravi Rana. The couple were arrested by Mumbai police on April 23 for alleged crimes of sedition and breaking harmony after requesting that Hanuman Chalisa be sung outside the Shiv Sena Supremo and the family residence of Maharashtra`s Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Matoshree. Major General Sudhir Vombatkere (retired) is one of the petitioners who challenged the constitutional validity of the colonial-era Sedition Act in court. But this is not his first crusade. In the past, Mysuru resident campaigned for the protection of the city`s environment and heritage A series of petitions from high-ranking journalists and prominent organizations and personalities, represented by senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Vipin Nair, questioned the legality of colonial law. They argued that the government is widely abusing the Sedition Act to restrict fundamental rights to life, dignity, personal liberty, and the freedom to protest and disagree. Mr. Sibal argued that, according to the 1962 jurisprudence, there has been a “fundamental change” in the law. He reminded the court that “the British have left the country.

We are now a democracy and master of our own destiny. We have the right to demonstrate. » The Great Repression: How India`s Incitement Bill Survived Despite Three Almost Deadly Verdicts In response to the Supreme Court`s order calling on the Indian authorities to temporarily abandon the application of the Incitement Act and suspend all ongoing trials, appeals and proceedings, Aakar Patel, Amnesty International`s Executive Director, said: that the crime of sedition must concern a government and that, therefore, the judgment of Kedar Nath must be considered a valid verdict. “The arguments on Articles 14 and 21 will make no difference, since incitement to violence or the creation of disturbances of public order cannot be protected. Subsequent interpretations of the Act do not affect the validity of Section 124A. In my opinion, there is no reason to refer this matter to a bigger bank,” Venugopal stressed. Because of its poor definition, the Incitement Act can be wrongly used by the police to falsely accuse individuals, as it does not clearly state which acts are seditious and gives a rough overview of what can be described as seditious. In light of the recent order of the Supreme Court of India, this article examines the provisions of sedition under the ICC and the possible path for the Sedition Act and the future of dissent in the country. Trouble was written in 1837 by the British historian and politician Thomas Babington Macaulay and has been defined as an act of “any person whoever by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible or other representation, provokes or attempts to arouse hatred or contempt, or arouses or attempts to arouse dissatisfaction with the government established by law in India.” A woman holds a placard during the 2020 protest in Bengaluru against a riot case filed by police against a school after students performed a play denouncing the Citizenship Amendment Act. | Photo credit: AP The court recommended that governments refrain from registering FIRs or coercive measures in riot cases until the matter is examined. Section 124A provides that sedition is a non-bailable offence, punishable by imprisonment from three years to life imprisonment and a fine. The person charged under this law is also banned from government employment and his passport is confiscated by the government.

Incidentally, the charge of sedition was abolished by the UK in 2010. Britain`s legacy in India includes abusive laws to suppress any opposition to colonial rule. The most important of these was sedition, the law by which the British imprisoned Indian nationalists such as Mohandas Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. When Gandhi appeared in court in 1922, he called the law “a prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of citizens.” He was sentenced to six years in prison. The charge of sedition, contained in Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code in 1870, was imposed by the British colonial government primarily to suppress the writings and speeches of prominent Indian freedom fighters. The writings of rulers such as Mahatma Gandhi, Lokmanya Tilak and Jogendra Chandra Bose were suppressed and judged for their comments on British rule. Despite these concerns and vehement opposition to abuses, the riot law has persisted and, until recently, complaints have been filed under Section 124A. However, by the affidavit of the Union of India in S.G. Vombatkere v. Union of India and the ordinance contained therein, Section 124A on riots has been suspended. “We welcome the Supreme Court`s order to suspend the Sedition Bill until the Indian government reviews this 152-year-old provision.

For too long, the authorities have abused the incitement law to harass, intimidate and persecute human rights defenders, activists, journalists, students, filmmakers, singers, actors and writers peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression. The insurgency has been used by successive governments as an instrument of political repression. Cases of sedition have risen by 28 percent under the Modi government, according to a database compiled by the Article-14 news site. Since 2014, Indian authorities have filed more than 500 sedition complaints, involving more than 7,000 people. Under Article 14, 149 people have been charged with sedition simply for making remarks about Modi that are considered critical or derogatory. Courts in several former British colonies have already ruled that colonial-era sedition laws violate freedom of expression. In 2010, Uganda`s Constitutional Court struck down the law as unconstitutional. In 2018, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (better known as the ECOWAS Court) ruled that the crime of incitement to hatred in The Gambia violated the right to freedom of expression under African regional and international law. While questioning the continuity of the “colonial-era” sedition law on July 15, Chief Justice N.V.

Ramana expressed concern about his abuse. He said, “The use of riot is like giving the carpenter a saw to cut a piece of wood, and he uses it to cut the whole forest himself.” His testimony and several recent Supreme Court decisions have sparked a heated debate about the Incitement Act and its widespread (abusive) use by state authorities. “The order to stop the registration of FIRs is a step in the right direction to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. As long as the law on incitement to hatred remains in force, human rights defenders and others who speak out against the crackdown will continue to be punished. What is even more worrisome, however, is that it is extremely difficult to obtain bail after arrest under the Incentive Act, as the process can take a long time. This leads to the harassment of innocent people and makes others afraid to speak out against the government. The case of the Kashmiri students in Hubli is an example of the difficulty of obtaining bail in a sedition case, as they were released on bail after 100 days in police custody. The Government argued that cases of abuse under Section 124A did not warrant review of an enforceable judgment upholding the Incitement Act. “The remedy would be to prevent such abuses on a case-by-case basis, rather than challenging a long-standing law that has been declared by a constitutional bank for about six decades,” the center argued. In the 1950s, a legal conundrum arose after different high courts had divergent views on the validity of Section 124A.

The issue was finally settled by the Constitutional Bank in its judgment in the Kedar Nath case in 1962. The court upheld the validity of the law on incitement to hatred under the ICC and also defined its scope. Since then, this definition has been considered a precedent for all matters relating to Article 124A. Strongly defending the constitutional validity of Section 124A (Sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Chief Justice of a court headed by the Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, said the contours of the penal provision had been defined by a constitutional court as early as 1962 and therefore there was no need to review the provision. At the same time, the panel of five judges determined the scope of Article 124A. He noted that section 124A only punishes words that indicate an intention or tendency to disturb public order or appear to incite violence. The Supreme Court stressed that the existence of a harmful tendency to incite violence is a prerequisite for invoking the sedition clause and that the penal provision cannot be used to suppress freedom of expression. Several Supreme Court decisions have ruled that speech is considered a riot only if it involves incitement to violence or public disorder.

According to media reports, more than 800 sedition complaints have been filed against 13,000 Indians since 2010. In addition, data provided by the National Crime Records Bureau shows that riot cases rose from 47 in 2014 to 93 in 2019, a massive increase of 163 percent. However, the conversion rate of cases into convictions is only 3%. This shows that police and relevant state authorities are indiscriminately using sedition laws to sow fear among citizens and silence any criticism or dissent against the regime. On May 11, the Supreme Court ordered the central and state governments to suspend Section 124A of the Penal Code, which defines sedition as any act or attempt “of incitement to hatred or contempt or. arouse discontent with the government.” .