Strike down Sedition Law, offensive parts of UAPA: Justice (Retd.) Rohinton Nariman urges Supreme Court2 min read


Sedition is the act, conduct or speech that incites people to revolt against a state’s or monarch’s authority. Sedition is a state-sponsored crime. “Whoever incites or attempts to incite hatred or contempt for, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection against, the Government established by law in [India], shall be punished with [life imprisonment, to which a fine may be added, or with imprisonment for three years, to which a fine may be added,” the law states (IPC). This regulation was established in 1860 by the British Raj to ban any offences against the state. Former Supreme Court Justice Rohinton Nariman has asked the court to throw down a colonial-era sedition statute as well as objectionable sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).

On Sunday, Justice Nariman remarked at a ceremony hosted by the Viswanath Pasayat Memorial Committee, “I would urge the Supreme Court not to remand any sedition matters that are currently before it to the Centre. Governments come and go, but it’s important that the court use its power to overturn Section 124A and the UAPA’s unconstitutional provisions. Residents in this metropolis would be able to breathe easier as a result.”

He remarked this rule as draconian and said India ranked 124 in the global law index because of these rules.

According to Bar and Bench, Justice Rohinton Nariman further stated that sedition was not initially included in the final Indian Penal Code (IPC) created by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay, despite the fact that it was included in the draught version. He went on to say that the law was utilised by the British government to suppress freedom activists.

“I would urge the Supreme Court not to remand any sedition matters that are now before it to the Centre.

The highest court, according to CJI Ramana, would consider the petition challenging the constitutional validity of section 124A, stating that it poses a “severe threat to the functioning of persons and parties.” The CJI went on to say that “using sedition is like handing a carpenter a saw to chop a piece of wood and he uses it to cut the entire forest itself,” and that the conviction rate under Section 124A is extremely low.

The Attorney General of India, KK Venugopal, was questioned by the Supreme Court’s CJI Bench why the sedition legislation could not be abolished. The Attorney General said that section 124A does not need to be repealed and that only recommendations are needed to ensure that the section fulfils its lawful purpose.

The criminal provision is punished by a three-year to a life sentence in prison, with or without a fine.

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