Art & Culture
- Sexual Harassment Charges against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
- All You Need to know about Electoral Bonds
- Electoral Bonds controversy
- NaMo TV controversy
- General Elections 2019
- RBI Governor bats for a Permanent Status to Finance Commission
- PM Modi’s Mission Shakti Speech & Model Code of Conduct
- Sadhvi Pragya Thakur’s latest Controversy
- Rafale deal document controversy
- Should SC Judges be under RTI ambit?
- Supreme Court Judgement on Tainted Candidates
- VVPAT verification
Governance & Social Justice
- Candida Auris : Drug- resistant fungi
- Candida auris infection
- Healthcare System for India, Difference in USA & European healthcare model?
- Lateral Entry in Civil Services explained
- Model policy for Women in Police
- NIRF India Rankings 2019 declared
- Quality Assurance Scheme
- Sex on false promise of marriage is rape
- Survey 2019 Ambitions Beyond Growth report by UNESCAP
- World Health Statistics Overview 2019 report on Life Expectancy
- World Press Freedom Index 2019
- Supreme Court compensation order on Bilkis Bano case
- WHO guidelines on physical activity for children under 5 years of age
- Global Talent Competitive Index 2019
- Algeria Political Crisis
- EU’s new Copyright Law, Will it change Web Worldwide?
- India Pakistan Kartarpur Corridor Talks
- India to Become NATO Ally?
- Japan Starts a New Era
- Julian Assange Arrested
- Sudan Political Crisis
- Trump designates Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran
- United Nations Has to Pay India $38 Million
- US labels Revolutionary Guard of Iran a terror organisation
- US Mexico border wall controversy
- Why is UAE Important for India?
- Why is Chile Important for India?
- India Pakistan Conflict De-escalation Mechanisms
- India suspends cross LoC trade with Pakistan
- What is Arab Spring 2.0?
- India to stop buying Oil from Iran
- Trump withdraws from UN arms treaty
- Asian Development Outlook 2019
- China’s growth after slowdown
- Foreign Investment in India
- India’s 20th Livestock Census
- India’s transition to Renewable Energy from conventional sources
- Indian Army Builds The Longest Bridge of India Over Indus In Leh
- India Energy Modelling Forum by NITI Aayog & USAID
- National Common Mobility Card launched
- Rise and fall of Private Airlines in India
- Rise in Global Crude Oil prices & weakening Rupee
- Slowdown in Industrial Growth & rising Inflation
- Supreme Court order on EPFO
- Supreme Court quashes RBI’s 12 February Circular on NPA
- What are Junk Bonds?
- What is Fixed Maturity Plans?
- What is GDP deflator? Is it more comprehensive compared to WPI and CPI?
- What is Trader’s Credit Card Scheme?
- What is Wholesale Price Index?
- 1st Bimonthly Monetary Policy review – April 2019
- National Rubber Policy 2019
- Sensex hits 7 months high, History & Functions of Bombay Stock Exchange
- Supreme Court orders RBI on RTI
- What is Dedollarisation?
- Asian Tea Alliance
- Pepsico vs Farmers Issue
Defence & Security
Science & Technology
- Dhanush Artillery Guns
- Combat Casualty Drugs
- The Indian Museum of the Earth (TIME)
- EMISAT Satellite Launched
- Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric
- First Ever Image of a Black Hole
- India to Buy MH60 Romeo Helicopters
- Nepal and Sri Lanka Launch Their First Satellites Raavana 1 & NepaliSat-1
- Nirbhay Missile Successfully Tested
- High Bacteriophages in Ganga River
- Army invokes Emergency Powers for Missile Deal
- Cell Based Meat
- INS Imphal Guided Missile Destroyer
- Draft Indian Forest Act 2019
- Gujarat Fishermen’s victory in US Supreme Court
- Humpback Mahseer Fish included in Critically Endangered list by IUCN
- India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)
- Jammu & Kashmir Environment Issues
- Madras High Court order on Chennai Salem Highway
- Monkey declared Vermin in Himachal Pradesh
- Neelakurinji Flower under Severe Threat
- Solar eWaste
- Special Postal Stamp on Ice Stupas released
- State of Global Climate report 2018
- What is Green Finance Ecosystem?
- Wind turbines are impacting ecology in Western Ghats
- All about Wild Food Plants
Spice of the Month
- GS3 || Security || Tackling Security Threats || Major Laws & Policies
Why in news?
- The Congress party’s manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections promises to repeal or amend laws like Sedition, Defamation and AFSPA. Here we discuss these three laws.
- Meaning: Sedition is a cognisable, non-compoundable, and non-bailable offence, under which sentencing can be between three years to imprisonment for life.
- The Indian Penal Code in Section 124A lays down the offence:
- “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.”
- Concern: Since its introduction in 1870, meaning of the term, as well as its ambit, has changed significantly.
- Previously, it was used by the British to target nationalist leaders.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak, charged twice under the law, was sentenced to six years imprisonment from 1908 to 1914 at Mandalay (present-day Myanmar).
- Mahatma Gandhi was also charged under the section for his articles in Young India. He famously called the defamation law the “prince” among criminal laws which thwarted free speech in the country.
- After Independence, there were discussions in the Constituent Assembly around the subject, with many of its members being charged under the section themselves. Yet, the section continued to remain in force.
- Previously, it was used by the British to target nationalist leaders.
- Revision: In 1962, the Supreme Court, while curtailing the extent of its application, upheld its constitutionality.
- The apex court in the Kedar Nath case, observed that every state has to be armed with the power to punish those who by their conduct, jeopardise the safety and stability of the state, or disseminate such feelings disloyalty as have tendency to lead to the disruption of the state or to public disorder.
- Since then, the courts in the country have repeatedly observed that the section cannot be used to curb criticism of the government, and can only be used as a measure for maintaining public order.
- Nevertheless, successive governments have been accused of misuse of the sedition law.
- Provisions: According to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code:
- “Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person.”
- India is one of the few countries where defamation is both a civil and a criminal offence.
- as a criminal offence, it is bailable, non-cognisable and compoundable, punishable with imprisonment up to two years, or with fine, or with both.
- Once charged in a criminal trial, the accused has to prove that they are covered under any of the 10 exceptions to the section, which range from an imputation which is truthful, to one which is made in good faith.
- Elsewhere: The English common law has different punishments for libel (written) and slander (spoken).
- India does not make this distinction – both being covered under the meaning of Section 499 itself.
- In the US, a distinction has been made between private and political defamation, where more burden of proof is placed on the prosecution in the latter.
- Changes: Like sedition, many governments have been accused of misusing the criminal law for suppressing legitimate criticism.
- If removed from the IPC, defamation would no longer remain a criminal offence.
- It would then continue as a civil wrong or tort, which in India is not stipulated by legislation and is guided by judge-made law.
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)
- Purpose: AFSPA was passed in 1958 for the North-East and in 1990 for Jammu & Kashmir, the law gives armed forces special powers to control “disturbed areas”.
- These are designated by the government when it is of the opinion that a region is in such a disturbed or dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary.
- The preamble of the law defines it as:
- “An Act to enable certain special powers to be conferred upon members of the armed forces in disturbed areas.”
- Provisions: The armed forces have been empowered to –
- open fire,
- enter and search without warrant, and
- arrest any person who has committed a cognisable offence, all while having immunity from being prosecuted.
- Currently, AFSPA is implemented in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, and parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
- The law has been repealed where insurgencies have subsided, and when governments have gained confidence of managing the region using the police force.
- Tripura became AFSPA-free in 2015, and in 2018 the Centre also removed Meghalaya from the list, while also restricting its use in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Contention: Critics both in India and abroad have criticised government agencies for acting with impunity under AFSPA.
- Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila had been on a 16-year hunger strike in protest against AFSPA.
- The Jeevan Reddy Committee formed in 2004 has recommended a complete repeal of the law.
- Examine the relevance of AFSPA, sedition and defamation laws in a free and democratic society.