Sedition law can be retained but with safeguards: Law Commission

Source: The post is based on the article “Sedition law can be retained but with safeguards: Law Commission” published in The Hindu on 2nd June 2023

What is the News?

The 22nd Law Commission of India was headed by Ritu Raj Awasthi. The Commission has said that the sedition needs to be retained, but certain amendments could be made for greater clarity regarding its usage.

What is Sedition?

Must read: Section 124 A or Sedition law

The Law Commission received a reference from the Home Ministry through a letter addressed to the Department of Legal Affairs in the Law Ministry for a study of the usage of the provision of Section 124A and suggest amendments.

What are the Law Commission’s recommendations on Sedition?

Existing laws do not cover all offences under Section 124A: The existence of laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the National Security Act (NSA) does not by implication cover all elements of the offence envisaged under Section 124A of the IPC.

Scrapping Section 124A brings harm to the accused: In the absence of a provision like Section 124A of IPC, any expression that incites violence against the government would invariably be tried under special laws and counter-terror legislation. These laws contain much more stringent provisions to deal with the accused.

Colonial origin is not a cause to scrap provisions: Many are of the view that sedition law is a colonial legacy, hence scrapped.

But the entire framework of the Indian legal system, police force and the idea of an All-India Civil Service are also a colonial legacy. So, the mere fact that a particular legal provision is colonial in its origin does not ipso facto validate the case for its repeal.

Misuse is not the reason to scrap: There are a plethora of examples of various laws being misused by ill-intentioned individuals. However, any alleged misuse can be reined in by laying down procedural safeguards.

Lay down procedural guidelines: The Centre should issue model guidelines to curb any misuse of provisions in Section 124A. It is imperative to lay down certain procedural guidelines for curbing any misuse of Section 124A of IPC by law enforcement authorities.

Must read: Sedition Law in India (Section 124A IPC) – Explained, pointwise
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