Supreme Court puts Victorian-Era Sedition Law on hold

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday has ordered to puts Victorian-era Sedition Law under Section124A on hold. It added that those already charged under it can approach courts for bail. No new cases shall be registered until the law has been thoroughly re-examined.

On Tuesday, SC recommended the center to give a direction to states for the cases under Section 124A in abeyance till the re-examination is complete.

Sedition Law

The Sedition law is mentioned under Section 124A of Indian Penal Code (IPC). It is the law introduced in the Victorian –era. According to it, a penalty of imprisonment or fine or both is issued to whoever attempts to excite dissatisfaction either by words or signs towards the Government established by law in India.

From the Centre

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared from center said that the center had decided to re-examine the law to prevent misuse and abuse of the law. He pleaded the court on Tuesday to postpone the hearing until the center makes a decision.

According to Petitioners

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for petitioners opposed the plea. He said “It is for the judiciary to decide whether a law is constitutional or not. It can’t wait for legislature to do.”

The bench headed by CJI

The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, headed the three judge bench including Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli . The bench mentioned, “They are doing a serious exercise on this issue. So, we should not appear we are being unreasonable.”

Although, the bench agreed to the request to adjourn the case, it asked the center to explain how they intend to deal with those who are already booked under the Act.

The Chief Justice pointed out “We respect the stand of the government and will accommodate you (give time). But then we have to balance the interests (of those) that are in jail. How will you protect them?”

The bench advised on Tuesday

Later, Justice Suryakant proposed that center should issue a directive to states to keep the law in abeyance. The bench has given orders to the center to respond on this on Wednesday morning.

The bench ordered

The Chief Justice of India said “We have discussed elaborately. We are passing this order. In view of the above, Union of India agrees with the Prima facie opinion expressed by the court that the rigours of Section 124A is not in accordance with the current social milieu.”

The bench hoped that the Centre and State restrain from registering any FIRs regarding the Section 124A IPC.

Next hearing

The next hearing is scheduled for Thursday on sedition law re-examination case.

ALSO READ: Supreme Court creates Seat for a Dalit Student in IIT Bombay

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