- Even after gaining Independence, the country continues to lean on some of the most anachronistic laws dating to pre-independence days defies logic as well as questions the supposedly modern outlook projected by the authorities concerned whilst impressing the countrymen of its objective. Reality is completely in contrast. On the one hand, we aspire to be counted amongst the developed nations by setting impressive targets of economic achievements to break into the exalted five trillion-dollar nations. On another hand, every effort of criticism against the ruling dispensation which is allowed as part of the free society upholding the virtues of democracy is thwarted forcefully by taking recourse to draconian laws having lived its utility for long.
PC: E-Justice India
- An aspirational society like ours fervently wishes to proceed ahead without getting encumbered with dubious laws serving little purpose in the present context. As is widely known, several voices of dissent from different quarters and by eminent personalities representing varied walks of life are mincing no words whatsoever in decrying the state machinery for adopting colonial-era provisions used to suppress the freedom movement. Recently, one such tough speak has raised hopes of a repeal of the oppressive sedition law as it comes from no less than the Chief Justice of India questioning the necessity of taking umbrage under the law after 75 years of independence. After petitions of two journalists who tasted firsthand its chilling effect, this time a decorated soldier viz. retired Major General has challenged the constitutionality of IPC 124A, which defines sedition.
- Most welcomingly, the Government of India also appeared to agree with the CJI’s concerns of misuse, and the Attorney-General present suggested laying down fresh guidelines to restrict the use of sedition. This line of the offering will hardly serve the purpose since the earlier guidelines enacted have had no palpable effect in reigning in the overzealous police and judicial officers from wantonly flouting the same. For the uninitiated, the core aim of the sedition law is to apply to such actions that incite violence endangering the public and security of the state. Unfortunately, it is ordinary dissenters criticizing governments or public servants or those taking part in protests who get regularly booked under the anti-national charge.
PC: NANDITA SAIKIA
- Time and again, it is the state governments who are the biggest misusers of sedition provisions despite clearly spelled out guidelines in place. Of late, the judicial reluctance and determined efforts to push back against the wrongful invocation of sedition and UAPA against dissenters and critics are well known. In a welcome move, not only the Supreme Court but also few lower courts too have trenchantly observed the fallacy of embracing outdated laws including the aforesaid. Since the growing public outcry and sentiment is against the sedition law, the Government should make earnest efforts to repeal the same. If not, the Apex Court should step in without any further delay to strike down the law as illegal and untenable in an aspiring modern society.