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Rekhta   10 February 2021

Sedition

 Section 124A of the Penal code is said to be against the essence of the Constitution. Why is it so?



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 3 Replies

Kevin Moses Paul   10 February 2021

Section 124(A) is a constituted in Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which basically deals with "Offences Against the State".
In legal language the section states that ---
"Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or  contempt,  or  excites or attempts to  excite  disaffection towards, the Government  established  by  law  in  India, shall  be  punished  with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine".

In general, the section explains that whoever, by spoken or written words, signs, etc. excites or attempts to excite hatred or disaffection towards the Government of India is said to have committed the crime of sedition.

The Constitution of India, 1950 grants us certain Fundamental Rights, which represent our basic human rights and liberties which all of us are entitled to. One of these rights is the ‘Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression’, granted by Article 19(1)(a).

Thus, Sedition refers to overt actions, gestures or speech by a person in oral or written form which expresses his or her discontent against the established Government in the state, with the aim to incite violence or hatred against it. Classified as a crime in India since 1870, it has been defined under Section 124A of Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

This right isn’t absolute though, and certain reasonable restrictions can be put on it in specific situations such as prevention of defamation of another person, maintenance of public order and decency, protection of the integrity of the nation, etc. which are mentioned in Article 19(2).

One of the cases where the ‘Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression’ can be restricted is in the case of Sedition.

Due to it's contrasting spirit with the Article 19(a), it's often considered to be against the essence of the essence of the Indian. However, the reality is totally distinct.

Hope it clears your doubts now.

Thanks

175B083 Mahesh P S   25 February 2021

Hello,

For a broader perspective  visit:

https://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/time-to-speak-up-not-be-punished-law-of-sedition-in-india-9859.asp
https://www.lawyersclubindia.com/forum/sedition-law-s-124a-ipc-repeal-this-colonial-legacy-31647.asphttps://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/laws-in-ipc-that-could-do-with-amendment-part-ii-8346.asp

Thank you

Preksha Goyal   14 May 2021

In post-Independence India, Section 124A has come under intense scrutiny multiple times on the grounds that it seeks to curb our right to freedom of speech that is guaranteed by the provisions of Art. 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Many people have called it a tyrannic relic of pre-independence India, questioning its existence in an India that is free and has its own Constitution based on the principles of democracy. Thus, critics have claimed that this provision of the Indian Penal Code stands in violation of the very spirit that the Constitution of India seeks to attain. 
In the case of Tara Singh Gopi Chand v. the State, where the Punjab and Haryana High Court addressed the issue of Constitutional validity of Section 124A.
The facts of the case were as follows:
In this case, two pleas were pending against Tara Singh with regards to two speeches that he had given, one in Karnal and one in Ludhiana. One of the sections under which he was charged was Section 124A. He challenged this, saying that the very crime of sedition is inappropriate in India after the foreign rule has ended, and submitted that Section 124A should be declared void as it is in contravention of the ‘Right of Freedom of Speech and Expression’ guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution.
The High Court agreed with the claim of Constitutional invalidity of Section 124A, and that it was a violation of the ‘Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression’ as guaranteed by the provisions of Art. 19(1)(a). It struck down this provision and at the same time, quashed the proceedings against Tara Singh and ordered for him to be set free.
The Allahabad Court passed a similar ruling in the case of Ram Nandan v. State (1959), wherein Section 124A was declared ultra vires of the Constitution.


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