SC agrees to examine validity of colonial era sedition law; issues notice to Centre

THE Supreme Court Friday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code(IPC).

A bench of Justices UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph issued notice to the Central Government to respond by July 12 to the petition filed by journalists Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha from Manipur and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla from Chhattisgarh challenging the validity of sedition law as violative of freedom of speech and expression (Article 19).

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The bench also said notice would be sent to the Attorney General for India.

The two journalists are facing sedition charges in their respective states for comments made by them on social media.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, for the petitioners, argued that the decision of a five-judge bench in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar(1962) would require reconsideration.

In the Kedarnath case, the top court had upheld the validity of the sedition law although it had narrowed down its scope and held “comments, however strongly worded, expressing disapprobation of actions of the Government, without exciting those feelings which generate the inclination to cause public disorder by acts of violence” was not sedition.

In 2016, the Supreme court reminded the authorities to be guided by the principles laid down in the Kedarnath case while dealing with sedition cases. Despite that, governments have been using the law to curb dissent.

The petition was filed through advocate Tanima Kishore.

Also Read: Lawmakers Must Examine: Does Free India Need a Sedition Law?

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