In an important development, the Indian Law Commission recommended against the complete repeal of the Sedition Act (Section 124a of the Indian Penal Code) and instead suggested that this provision be retained with some modifications. The Law Commission in its Report No. 279 stated that it was “the considered opinion that Section 124a of the Indian Penal Code should be retained, notwithstanding…
In an important development, the Indian Law Commission recommended against the complete repeal of the Sedition Act (Section 124a of the Indian Penal Code) and instead suggested that this provision be retained with some modifications.
The Legal Committee stated in its report No. 279 that it is from “The considered opinion that Section 124a of the Indian Penal Code should be retained, although some modifications may be made, as suggested, by incorporating the proportion prescribed in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (AIR 1962 SC 9551) so as to achieve greater clarity as to the use of this provision.”
Furthermore, the Law Commission also proposed changing the penalty for the offense of sedition (Section 124a IPL). It recommended that sedition be punished with life imprisonment or up to 7 years or a fine on the basis that the penalty regime should be equal to other offenses under Chapter VI of the Islamic Penal Code. At present, the offense is punishable by life imprisonment, imprisonment of up to 3 years, or a fine
Also, to prevent abuse of the oath, I suggested that the central government provide model guidelines.
A seditious FIR is only lifted after a preliminary investigation and permission from the government
The Committee proposed an amendment to add a requirement to Article 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure stating that the FIR for the offense of sedition shall be registered only after a preliminary investigation has been conducted by a police officer, not below the rank of Inspector, and after obtaining permission from the Central or State Government, as appropriate. Case, based on the preliminary investigation report.
The committee said that it makes this recommendation taking into account Observations made by the Supreme Court regarding possible abuse of this provision.
Last year, it was the Supreme Court An order to keep the sentence pending, having regard to the concerns expressed about the misuse of this provision to suppress dissent against the government. A judicial body led by the then Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana held at first sight that “The harshness of Article 124a of the IPC is inconsistent with the current social environment, and was intended to be at the time when this country was under the colonial system.”
Providing what is necessary to preserve the unity and safety of the nation
The committee recommended that this text is necessary to preserve the unity and integrity of the nation.
“Section I 24a of IPC is useful in combating anti-national and separatist elements because it seeks to protect the elected government from attempts to overthrow it through violent and illegal means. The continued existence of the government established by law is a prerequisite for the “security and stability of the state.” In this context, it becomes imperative to maintain Section 124A and ensure that all such disruptive activities are caught in their infancy.” said the commission.
The Committee also disagreed with the view that this provision violated the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and considered it a reasonable limitation.
Nor does the existence of anti-terrorism legislation such as the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act and the National Security Act eliminate the need for the crime of sedition.
“While UAPA is a special law that deals with activities of a terrorist or disruptive nature, the NSA is a law that deals with preventive detention only. Generally, special laws and anti-terrorism legislation dealing with national security such as these seek to prevent or punish the perpetrators of these crimes.” . Committing crimes against the state. On the other hand, Section 124a of the Islamic Penal Code seeks to prevent the violent, illegal and unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically elected government established by law. Hence, the existence of the former does not implicitly include all elements of the crime stipulated in Article 124a of the Libyan Penal Code.
It also held that in the absence of a provision such as Article 124a of the Islamic Penal Code, any expression that incites violence against the government will always be prosecuted under special laws and anti-terrorism legislation, which contain more stringent provisions for dealing with the accused.
The fact that sedition was a colonial law did not constitute a valid reason for its repeal
If this reasoning is adopted, the commission said, the entire Indian Penal Code should be abolished because of its colonial legacy. “The mere fact that a particular legal provision is colonial in origin does not justify the de facto validity of the claim for its abolition.”
Proposed amendments to the provision (highlighted parts)
124A – Sedition – Whoever by word, whether spoken, written, gesture, visual representation, or in any other way, brings or attempts to arouse hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to arouse indignation against the Government established by law in India , Whoever tends to incite violence or cause a disturbance of public order shall be punished with life imprisonment, with the possibility of adding a fine to it, or imprisonment with one of these two characteristics for a period that may extend to seven years, with the possibility of adding a fine to it, or fine.
Explanation 1.- The word “indignation” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
Clarification 2. Comments expressing disapproval of measures taken by the government intended to change them by lawful means, without arousing or attempting to arouse hatred, contempt or indignation, do not constitute an offense under this section.
Clarification 3. Comments expressing disapproval of an administrative or other action of the government without arousing or attempting to arouse hatred, contempt, or indignation do not constitute an offense under this section. clarification
4.- The term “tendency” means merely a tendency to incite violence or cause public disorder and not to prove actual violence or an imminent threat of violence.
The panel consists of Justice (Ret.) Ritu Raj Awasthi (Former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court and Judge of Allahabad High Court), Justice (Ret.) KT Sankaran (Ex-Judge of Kerala High Court), Prof. Dr. Anand Palewal and University Professor. DB Verma.