Supreme Court puts colonial sedition law on hold

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has suspended pending criminal trials and court proceedings under Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code while allowing the Union of India to reconsider the British-era law.

What is Sedition Law?

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What was the issue about?
Sedition Law
Source: Hindustan Times

Several Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Section 124A which deals with sedition.

In response to these petitions, the Central Government filed an affidavit informing the Supreme Court that it had decided to re-examine the provisions of section 124A of the IPC in wake of the criticism against the law’s “application and abuse”. 

The Supreme Court accepted the Government’s affidavit and said that the sedition law will be put on hold till the Central Government completes the exercise to reconsider and re-examine the provision.

What are the directions issued by the Supreme Court on Section 124A?

Firstly, it has suspended pending criminal trials and court proceedings under Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code until the Centre finishes its review.

Secondly, the court also made it clear that it hopes and expects the Center and States to restrain from registering FIRs under Section 124A while the “reconsideration” of the colonial provision was on.

Thirdly, the court indicated that there is no blanket stay on the registration of fresh FIRs under Section 124A. But if any fresh case is registered, the affected parties can approach the concerned Courts for appropriate relief and courts are requested to examine the reliefs sought to take into account the present order passed.

What is the significance of this judgment?

The judgement would act as a powerful message against the rampant misuse of the sedition law by governments to silence dissent and violate personal liberty. 

Moreover, undertrials booked under Section 124A can now use the order to seek bail.

Further, with this order, bail-in Section 124A cases have become the rule.

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

Source: The post is based on the article “Supreme Court puts colonial sedition law on hold published in The Hindu on 12th May 2022.

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