New Delhi: The Supreme Court today expressed deep concern over the misuse of the sedition law. Chief Justice NV Ramana said during the hearing of a case that this law was used by the British against leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. It is surprising that even after 75 years of independence, the government considers the need to maintain this law. The court today issued notice to the Center on the petition of retired Army Major General SG Bombatkare on this issue.
The question of fear in speaking against the government
In the petition on which the notice has been issued today, questions have been raised on the ‘Kedarnath Singh vs Bihar’ judgment in 1962. In that decision, the court had said that section 124A of the IPC is valid. But it should be used only in cases in which someone’s words have actually caused violence or there is a presumption of armed rebellion against the government. It has been said in the petition that this decision is out of date. This is not in accordance with the prevailing legal doctrine around the world in which it is considered wrong to suppress one’s freedom of speech by intimidation.
abuse against political opponents
Taking the petition seriously, a bench headed by the Chief Justice said that the purpose of the petition of a senior army officer who has served the country cannot be questioned. The court cited the misuse of this section for political reasons across the country. The Chief Justice sitting in the bench along with Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy remarked, “The ruling party in a state imposes this section on its opponents. Section 66A of the Information Technology Act was also being misused in a similar manner. The police have been arresting people even after the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. The section of sedition is also imposed in such a way that someone can be harassed. Most of the people are acquitted later. But wrongly No accountability is fixed on the police officer who imposed the section.”
‘Law like cutting the whole forest instead of wood’
The Chief Justice further said, “This law is like a carpenter was given a saw to cut a piece of wood and he started cutting down the whole forest. The government is abolishing many old laws. Its attention is still on the sedition law.” Why didn’t you go?” Attorney General KK Venugopal concurred with the court’s concern, saying, “Surely the misuse of this law must be stopped. It needs to be confined only to cases of direct injury to the security of the country and democratic institutions.”
The government gave indications of changes in the law
Accepting the court’s notice on behalf of the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also indicated that the government wants to take steps to stop the misuse of this law. Mehta said, “Let the reply be filed on behalf of the government. A lot of the concerns of the court will be reduced.” It was also placed before the bench of the Chief Justice that some more petitions challenging Section 124A of the IPC are pending before the second bench. On this, the court said that it will consider whether this petition can be clubbed with other petitions pending in the case.
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