SEDITION LAW AND FIRST CASE LAW ON SEDITION IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION

Among the political provisions of the Indian Penal Code meant to curtail citizen liberty, Section 124A is arguably the most powerful. Affection is not something that can be created or governed by legislation.If you don’t like someone or a system, you should be allowed to voice your displeasure to the maximum extent possible, as long as you don’t plan, advocate, or instigate violence_ Mahatma Gandhi.

Even though England, which created it, long ago abolished it in 2010 by Section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which came into effect on 12 January 2010, the new CJI NV Ramana has expressed his extreme displeasure with the way this most abused and most misused sedition law still exists in the penal laws even after 75 years of independence, even though sedition laws are still applicable in US and many other countries. 

Similarly, in 1988, South Korea repealed its sedition legislation. We also observed how, in Australia, the term sedition was abolished and replaced with references to “urging violence crimes” in response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendations. Many other countries across the world are in the same boat.Sedition is a colonial law used by the British in India to suppress dissent. A case was filed in the Supreme Court by Advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of former IT Minister Arun Shourie and NGO Common Cause challenging the constitutional validity of Section 124-A of the IPC as violating Articles 14, 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution.Despite the fact that the clause was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar in 1962, the appeal claims that the law has since changed and that the subject has to be considered. A bench led by Justice UU Lalit is also considering a petition and Intervention Applications challenging Section 124A of the IPC’s constitutional validity.

 

FIRST EVER CASE LAW ON SEDITION

Queen Empress v Jogendra Chandra Bose, commonly known as the ‘Bangobasi’ case, was the first time Section 124A of the IPC was used. The suspected seditious materials was published in a weekly vernacular publication known as ‘Bangobasi.’The publisher, editor, manager, and printer of the stated daily, ‘Bangobasi,’ were charged with sedition in this case.Some pieces in this journal were slammed for being a threat to Hindu faith and civilization, despite the fact that the Age of Consent Bill had only been enacted a week before they were published. The articles went on to accuse the British of employing force to conquer and Europeanize India, which had a negative economic impact on the country. The four defendants were all placed on trial.In the landmark case Queen v Jogendra Chandra Bose, Sir Comer Petheram, Chief Justice of the High Court of Calcutta, defined ‘disaffection’ as an emotion that is opposed to attachment; in other words, hate or hatred. Simply enough, disapprobation is disapproval.If a person uses either spoken or written words calculated to create in the minds of the person to whom they are addressed a disposition not to obey the lawful authority of the government, or to subvert or resist the authority, if and when the occasion arises, and if he does so with the intent of creating such disposition among his hearers or readers, they will be guilty under this section.

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