100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
SC asks Centre, states to refrain from registering any FIR invoking sedition charges
Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Central government to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of Section 124A of the IPC…
Supreme Court puts colonial sedition law on hold
Court suspends pending criminal trials under Section 124A, allows Centre to reconsider the law
SC places sedition law on hold till Centre reviews it
The court asked the Centre and states not to arrest or prosecute anyone under the provision
Telling truth is patriotism, not treason: Rahul Gandhi hails SC order on sedition law
Sedition law: Supreme Court ordered that Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises the offence of sedition be…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Sedition law | Supreme Court order has the effect of making bail the rule in Section 124A cases
A person cannot be incarcerated or charged under a currently non-existent penal provision
Supreme Court puts the sedition law on hold, no new FIRs to be lodged
The provisions of Section 124A of the IPC criminalises the offence of sedition
Get all your news in one place
Latest Comment news:
Paul Bongiorno: It won’t be easy for Anthony Albanese, but he says he’s up for it
At his first news conference as the newly sworn in Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese assured the nation he…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Map: Where has monkeypox been detected so far?
At least 17 countries have reported new confirmed cases of monkeypox. No associated deaths have been reported to date.
The American right is whitewashing Hungary’s nasty, autocratic regime
US conservatives are signaling their commitment to authoritarianism loud and clear by holding this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in…
Opinion: Three Ways Tech Innovation Can Help Us Meet Climate Goals
Reaching net zero will require rapid scaling up of existing clean energy solutions, developing new ways to make and store…
As we reclaim the stage for Indigenous storytellers, we have a question for colonisers
Our performance honours ancestors, respects Elders and breaks the siloed rules of western arts practice
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Editorial: To Stabilize Employment, Trust the Market
Reforms must be implemented to tackle the challenges ahead, and provide desirable jobs for the majority of the population
Just how badly did News Corp’s attacks fail? We count the ways
The Murdoch machine was not shy about its feelings towards Simon Holmes à Court and the teal independents…

Frozen sedition

In a substantial blow in favour of free speech, the Supreme Court has effectively suspended the operation of the sedition provision in the country’s penal law. “All pending trials, appeals and proceedings with respect to the charge framed under Section 124A be kept in abeyance”, it has said in an order that will bring some welcome relief to those calling for the abrogation of Section 124A of the IPC, which criminalises any speech, writing or representation that “excites disaffection against the government”. The Court has recorded its hope and expectation that governments at the Centre and the States will refrain from registering any fresh case of sedition under Section 124A of the IPC, or continuing with any investigation or taking any coercive measure under it. The hope and the expectation arise from the Union government’s own submission that it has decided to re-examine and reconsider the provision as part of the Prime Minister’s efforts to scrap outdated laws and compliance burdens. Perhaps, realising that its order may not be enough to deter thin-skinned and vindictive governments and politically pliant police officers from invoking it against detractors and dissenters, the Court has given liberty to the people to approach the jurisdiction courts if any fresh case is registered for sedition and cite in their support the present order, as well as the Union government’s stand.

That the sedition law is being persistently misused has been recognised years ago, and courts have pointed out that the police authorities are not heeding the limitation imposed by a 1962 Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on what constitutes sedition. The Court had upheld the section only by reading it down to mean that it is applicable only to “acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder, or disturbance of law and order, or incitement to violence”. In practice, the police have been using the broad definition of sedition to book anyone who criticised the Government in strong and strident language. The question now before the Court is whether it ought to overrule a decision rendered by a five-judge Bench 60 years ago. If it chooses to do so, and strikes down Section 124A as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech, it may help the larger cause of preventing misuse of provisions relating to speech-based offences. However, the Government may choose to prevent such a situation by amending it so that the offence is narrowly defined to cover only acts that affect the sovereignty, integrity and security of the state, as reportedly recommended by a panel of experts. When the Government submitted that it was revisiting the provision on its own, it was expecting only an indefinite postponement of the hearing on the constitutional validity of Section 124A, but it must now heed the spirit of the order and take effective steps to prevent its misuse.

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
SC asks Centre, states to refrain from registering any FIR invoking sedition charges
Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Central government to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of Section 124A of the IPC…
Supreme Court puts colonial sedition law on hold
Court suspends pending criminal trials under Section 124A, allows Centre to reconsider the law
SC places sedition law on hold till Centre reviews it
The court asked the Centre and states not to arrest or prosecute anyone under the provision
Telling truth is patriotism, not treason: Rahul Gandhi hails SC order on sedition law
Sedition law: Supreme Court ordered that Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises the offence of sedition be…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Sedition law | Supreme Court order has the effect of making bail the rule in Section 124A cases
A person cannot be incarcerated or charged under a currently non-existent penal provision
Supreme Court puts the sedition law on hold, no new FIRs to be lodged
The provisions of Section 124A of the IPC criminalises the offence of sedition
Get all your news in one place