Supreme Court stays on sedition law

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The Supreme Court suspended pending criminal trials and court proceedings under Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code and allowed the British-era law to be reconsidered.

  • The Supreme Court also restrained the Centre and the states from filing FRs, continuing investigations or taking punitive action under Section 124A.

  • About Sedition Law

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

  • The IPC was enacted in 1860, under the British Raj.

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

  • The need for such a law was felt after the successful suppression of the Wahhabi movement by the British.

  • This section was used by the British to suppress activists in favour of national independence, including Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, both of whom were found guilty and imprisoned.

  • Sedition as a cognizable offence

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

  • A cognizable offence means arrest without a warrant.

  • Two High Courts of India found it unconstitutional after independence, as it violates freedom of speech and expression.

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