Sedition Law

(GS PAPER-2, Fundamental Right

Source- Indian Express)

Context-

  • Recently, the decision of the Supreme Court has quashed the sedition charges against a senior journalist. Civil society has hailed this as a rootless development, especially in the context of the rapid increment number of sedition cases filed. Continuous Increment in the number of sedition cases shows the repressive approach to dissent and criticism of the government.
  • Recently, Freedom House released a report showing that there is a rise in sedition cases against dissenters. Therefore, as the sedition law is seen as being used to stifle democracy, it should be removed from the statutes.

The objective of Sedition Law-

  • To put Reasonable Restrictions: The constitution of India puts reasonable restrictions (under Article 19(2)) that can be imposed on the rights to ensure its responsible exercise and ensure that it is equally available to all citizens of India.
  • To Maintain Unity & Integrity: It is said that Sedition laws are helping the government in combating anti-national, secessionist, and terrorist elements.
  • To Maintain Stability of State: It helps in protecting the elected government from the practice to overthrow the government with violence and illegal means. 

Way Forward-

  • Scrapping Sedition Law: There are enough laws in our country to curb external and internal threats to India and there is no need to continue with the sedition law. Therefore it is necessary to abolish the sedition law on the ground that it is used to curb freedom of expression and speech.
  • Role of Judiciary: Until the sedition law is scrapped by the parliament, the Supreme Court can use its supervisory powers to sensitize the executive to the constitutional provisions protecting free speech. Further, to avoid the misuse of sedition law, the higher judiciary should narrow down the definition of sedition to address only the issues about the territorial integrity of India as well as the sovereignty of the country.
  • Raising Civil Society Awareness: Civil society should take the lead to raise awareness about the arbitrary use of Sedition law.

-Khyati Khare

 

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