SC fixes final hearing on Sedition Law

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Supreme Court to give final hearing on May 5 on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the offence of sedition under Section 124A of IPC. 

  • A three-member bench of CJI NV Ramana has fixed May 5 for hearing all the petitions related to this case together.

  • Attorney General K.K. Venugopal is assisting the court in the case in the capacity of his constitutional office.

  • The CJI had said sedition or Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code was prone to misuse by the government.

  • Sedition Law

  • Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code provides for the punishment of sedition.

  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) was enacted in 1860 during the British Raj.

  • The then British government in India feared that religious preachers from the Indian subcontinent would wage war against the government.

  • Throughout the British Raj, this section was used to suppress activists in favour of national independence, including Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, both found guilty and imprisoned.

  • In 1973, sedition was made a cognizable offence for the first time in India during the tenure of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

  • A cognizable offence means arrest without a warrant. 

  • Constitutional validity

  • After independence, it was found unconstitutional by two high courts, as it violates freedom of expression.

  • The Supreme Court upheld its validity in Kedar Nath Singh v State of Bihar (1962).

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