Government Agrees To Reconsider Sedition Law
The central government has informed the Supreme Court of India that it will re-examine and reconsider the provision of sedition under the Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code. The section seeks to punish those who excite or attempt to excite disaffection towards the government through spoken or written words or visible representation.
The decision was conveyed in an affidavit in response to petitions challenging the constitutionality of the provision. The government has also requested the court to put on hold the hearing on the case until the reconsideration exercise is complete.
The Government of India, being fully cognisant of various views being expressed on the subject of sedition and also having considered the concerns of civil liberties and human rights, while committed to maintain and protect the sovereignty and integrity of this great nation, has decided to reexamine and re-consider the provisions of Section 124A which can only be done before the competent forum.Central Government to Supreme Court
The top court is examining a batch of petitions challenging the provision which has attracted attention and criticism over its misuse. The Supreme Court has also separately sought the views of the Attorney General for India on the issue.
The petitioners have contended that the 1962 judgment by the apex court which upheld the validity of the provision does not pass constitutional muster today.
Striking down the provision in 1962 would have created a legal vacuum, that is law enforcement wouldn’t have had any means to punish those harming public order and violence. But today, less intrusive alternatives are available under the law, one of the petition challenging the provision says. "Alternative legislation eliminates the need to employ Section 124A to deal with public disorder and violence."
In the last hearing, the bench had discussed whether the case needs to be referred to a larger bench because of the 1962 constitution bench ruling on the issue.
The three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice of India Justice NV Ramana had asked the parties to file their reply on the query. The top court will take up the case for hearing on Tuesday.