Question: Sedition law under IPC 124A is an example of blatant use of state power to kill the idea of dissent. Critically explain constitutional validity of the law.
Answer: Section 124A under IPC is also known as sedition law. It was framed by the British in 1870 to charge freedom fighters and nationalists raising voice against the British rule. The law has continued to remain in our legal system even after independence.
Misuse of sedition law
- Tackling political opposition
The sedition law is used against political dissent by the government in power. There have been instances of innocents rotting in jail under the law.
- Vendetta politics
Ideological differences have been taken out of context and framed as ‘sedition’. There have been efforts to wipe out opposing ideology.
Constitutional illegality of sedition law
- Violation of Article 19
The article 19 gives freedom of expression and speech under the constitution. Using sedition law against criticism is not acceptable.
- Violation of Article 21
Right to life and personal liberty is qualified as fundamental right that can be taken away only under special conditions. Sedition charges do not necessarily make up the condition.
Validity of the law
- Suppress secessionism
The sedition law is a protection against secessionist tendencies shown by many individuals by acting against Indian state.
- Protect constitutional institutions
Constitutional positions have to be respected and revered. Use of actions against these positions can put our system into peril.
The Supreme Court has said that Section 124A is valid in Kedar Nath Sigh case. It however has put several restrictions on using the law to prevent misuse.
Thus, it cannot be completely said that sedition law is unnecessary. Instead, the condition for applying should be tightened and misuse of law should be punished by judiciary.