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Supreme Court puts sedition law on hold, says no new case till further orders | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed all proceedings in sedition cases and directed the Centre and states to not register any fresh FIR invoking sedition charges until the government re-examines the colonial era penal law.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said all pending cases, appeals and proceedings with respect to charges framed for sedition should be kept in abeyance.
The SC bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said those already booked under Section 124A IPC and in jail could approach competent courts for appropriate relief and bail.
It also said that any relief granted to the accused will continue.
This is the first time in 162 years that the operation of provision of Section 124A has been suspended. The apex court said the Union government is free to issue additional directions to the states.
The top court will now hear the pleas challenging the validity of sedition provisions in the third week of July. By then, the Centre would have the time to undertake the exercise to re-examine the provision.
Earlier during the hearing, the Centre told the court that it cannot prevent police from registering a cognizable offence under sedition provision, but said an FIR under Section 124A would be registered only if area superintendent of police (SP) is satisfied that facts of a case involves sedition offence.
With regard to pending sedition cases, the Centre suggested that hearing on bail pleas in such matters may be expedited as the government did not know the gravity of offence in each case and they may have terror or money laundering angles.
“Ultimately, pending cases are before judicial forum and we need to trust courts,” the law officer told the bench which also comprised justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.
What is Sedition law?
Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with sedition, was drafted by Thomas Babington Macaulay and included in the IPC in 1870.
What does Section 124 A states?
Section 124A of the IPC, which deals with sedition, states, “Whoever, 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.”
Punishment under Section 124A
Sedition is a non-bailable offence. Punishment under the law varies from imprisonment up to three years to a life term and fine. A person charged under this law can’t apply for a government job. They have to live without their passport and must present themselves in the court as and when required.
Will 124A be scrapped?
Mahatma Gandhi called Section 124A “the prince among the political sections of the IPC designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen”. Jawaharlal Nehru said that the provision was “obnoxious” and “highly objectionable”, and “the sooner we get rid of it the better”. But in July 2019 Nityanand Rai, minister of state for home affairs, told the Rajya Sabha that “there is no proposal to scrap the provision under the IPC dealing with the offence of sedition. There is a need to retain the provision to effectively combat anti-national, secessionist and terrorist elements.” In July 2019, Minister of State for home affairs, Nityanand Rai, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, said: “There is no proposal to scrap the provision under the IPC dealing with the offence of sedition. There is a need to retain the provision to effectively combat anti-national, secessionist and terrorist elements.” The question was asked by lawmaker Banda Prakash of the TRS.





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