Mahatama Gandhi, too, was later tried for sedition for his articles in Young India. The court held that "a citizen has a right to say or write whatever he likes about the Government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the Government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder". It talks about the relevance of Sedition law. -M K Gandhi. The Supreme Court highlighted these debates in 1950 in its decisions in. Recently, a lower court in Bihar directed the filing of an FIR under section 124A (Sedition) of IPC against 49 eminent persons who signed an open letter to the Prime Minister of India expressing concerns over mob lynching. Data shows that sedition cases have increased in recent years.
Section 124A of the IPC has its utility in combating anti-national, secessionist and terrorist elements, It protects the elected government from attempts to overthrow the government with violence and illegal means. Bar representatives blame PPP, PML-N for not annulling Section 124-A of PPC Sedition criminalises any speech or expression that brings or attempts to bring hatred, contempt or disaffection towards the government established by law in India. Punishment under the Section 124A ranges from imprisonment up to three years to a life term, to which fine may be added.
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If Gandhi termed section 124A of IPC the prince among the laws designed to suppress liberty, one wonders what he would think of laws such as Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) under which scholars and activists continue to be detained without trial. All rights reserved |, Quick Book: Environment and Ecology - English medium. Covid pandemic offers a chance to construct better buildings for future.
Freedom of speech often poses difficult questions, like the extent to which the State can regulate individual conduct. The terms used under Section 124A like 'disaffection' are vague and subject to different interpretation to the whims and fancies of the investigating officers. IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act have provisions that penalize "disrupting the public order" or "overthrowing the government with violence and illegal means". These are sufficient for protecting the national integrity. Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. From Our Archives: Some of the sedition cases in recent years reveal how the law is used to target voices speaking against the government. The continued existence of the government established by law is an essential condition of the stability of the State, If contempt of court invites penal action, contempt of government should also attract punishment, Many districts in different states face a Maoist insurgency and rebel groups virtually run a parallel administration. The Indian Penal Code defines sedition (Section 124A) as an offence committed when "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". Covid reinfection confirmed in US man, second bout was more severe, Is 2020 the worst year for civilisation? Mahatama Gandhi, too, was later tried for sedition for his articles in Young India. However, the Bihar lower court ignored these judgments of the Supreme Court. Of course, it is essential to protect national integrity. In recent times, there has been an increase in the instances in which sedition charges were pressed against intellectuals, human rights activists, filmmakers, university teachers, students, and journalists. In the recent consultation paper on the sedition, the Law Commission has suggested invoking 124A to only criminalize acts committed with the intention to disrupt public order or to overthrow the Government with violence and illegal means. During the trial, even as Gandhi pleaded guilty of the offence, he strongly expressed his criticism against section 124A. He said “I do not ask for mercy, I am here, therefore, to invite and submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is deliberate crime, and what appears to me to be the highest duty of a citizen.”, For latest updates on nCOVID-19 around the world visit our. “Affection [towards a system] cannot be regulated or manufactured by law" Excerpts from Gandhi's speech at the trial are often quoted when a debate around the law of sedition erupts. A wide and concentrated executive discretion is inbuilt into it which permits the blatant abuse. There is no need for Section 124A. The data released by the National Crime Records Bureau for the year between 2014 and 2016 reflect the disutility of the law for the criminal justice system. These groups openly advocate the overthrow of the state government by revolution, Against this backdrop, the abolition of Section 124A would be ill-advised merely because it has been wrongly invoked in some highly publicized cases. However, comments without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, will not constitute an offence under this section. Even if the letter is considered hateful of the government, if it did not incite violence, it is not seditious. British used Sedition law to convict and sentence freedom fighters. If the country is not open to positive criticism, there would be no difference between the pre- and post-Independence eras. Click here for Online Inquiry form to join Drishti IAS programmes, Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies, This sentiment (and law) was borrowed and inserted into the. There is no reason, why should not India abolish this section. It also held that disturbing the public order will mean nothing less than endangering the foundations of the State or threatening its overthrow. The law was originally drafted in 1837 by Thomas Macaulay, the British historian-politician, but was inexplicably omitted when the IPC was enacted in 1860.