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Supreme Court Restrains Government From Filing Of FIR, Registration Or Investigation By Making Use Of Section 124A Of IPC

Sai Krishna ,
  13 May 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
The Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
WRIT PETITION(C) No.682 OF 2021

Case Title:
S.G Vombatkere v. Union of India 

Date: 
11.05.2022

Bench:
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana
Justice Surya Kant
Justice Hima Kohli 

Subject

The Supreme Court has given out an order requesting State and Central Governments from registering any FIR under Section 124A of Indian Penal Code and also to set aside all pending trials, appeals and proceedings with respect to Section 124A of IPC for a temporary period until the provision is re-examined and re considered. 

Important Provisions

Section 124A - “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 shall be punished with im­prisonment for life, to which fine may be added.

Overview

  • The Sedition law in India was introduced by the British during the colonial period back in the year 1870. The sedition was made a cognizable offence that is an act which can amount to arrest without a warrant in the year 1973 when Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India.
  • Sedition is defined as a behaviour wherein someone through his words or acts incites hatred against the government. This was a law brought in by the British in order to punish people who showed disaffection to the established government. 
  • This provision was deemed important and necessary by the British after suppressing the Wahabi Movement.  The British were highly concerned about the Muslim Preachers starting a jihad against them. This provision was used to imprison Mahatma Gandhi and Lokmanya Tilak and played a major role in oppressing National Independence Campaigners.
  • During the British regime sedition amounted to imprisonment three years or imprisonment for life accompanied with fin. Also, should appear in court whenever required, cannot hold a passport and also not allowed to work for the government.
  • Punishment for Sedition under 124A of IPC clearly has its roots from the British rule. It is a punishable offence which can amount to an imprisonment for three years to a life sentence plus a fine.
  • The sedition law has been widely misused in the present scenario since it being poorly defined and can be interpreted in different ways. Sedition law has resulted in various false accusation cases and also is said to take away one’s freedom of speech and expression.

Issues Raised

Does Section 124A of the IPC violate constitutional rights guaranteed to the citizens?

Judgement Analysis

  • On 09.05.2022 an affidavit was passed on behalf of Union of India
  • The government of India has decided to reconsider and re-examine the provision of Section 124A of IPC while maintaining a balance between the protection of sovereignty and integrity of the country and the civil liberties and human rights available to the citizens.
  • The court has advised the Government of India to take up the matter of reconsideration regarding the validity of Section 124A IPC before an appropriate forum 
  • The Union of India agrees with the court that Section 124A of IPC is prima facie not in regard with the current situation of the country and was instituted back in the time of colonial regime with an intention to oppress the people fighting for the country. 
  • The court has stated that there is a requirement to balance both integrity of the state and civil liberties of the citizens. Thereby, a proper re examination has to be conducted.
  • Therefore, it is expected that the State and Central governments will restrain from filing of FIR, registration or investigation by making use of Section 124A of IPC.
  • Any fresh case registered under this section can be approached in the concerned courts by the affected parties for relief. 
  • The court has stated that all pending trials, appeals and proceedings related to the charge framed under the Section 124A of IPC to be suspended until the period of re examination is completed. Also stated that if the courts are of opinion that no prejudice would be caused to the accused then adjudication in matters to other sections can be proceeded.
  • To prevent any misuse of Section 124A of the IPC, the Union of India shall be free to issue the Directive as recommended to the State Governments and Union Territories.

Conclusion

The court concluded that the use of Section 124A and any proceedings or matters related with that section to be put aside and be kept in abeyance until the procedure of re examination has been completed by a competent forum while maintaining a balance between both the integrity of the state and the civil liberties of the citizens. 

Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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