SEDITION LAW IN INDIA
Sedition laws was introduced by the British government. The sedition laws was not included in IPC in 1860 but later in 1870 it was included in the IPC. The law of sedition was first introduced in clause 113 of Thomas Babington Macaulay's Draft IPC in 1837. However, when the IPC was finally enacted after a 20-year delay in 1860, the section pertaining to sedition was mysteriously omitted, claims a study. According to the study, the necessity of introducing the law of sedition was first recognised by the British after the revolt of 1857 in light of the increased Wahabi activities along with the incidents of mutiny against the British up until 1870. As a result, the law of sedition was incorporated under Section 124A of the IPC on November 25, 1870. The ministry of Affairs (MHA) and National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in 2019 and 2020 respectively, revealed a rapid increase in sedition cases since 2014. The first trial of sedition was done in 1891 in Bangabasi case.
SECTION 124A OF IPC
Section 124A of the IPC defined sedition. According to this section sedition means, 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.
1) Bal Gangadhar Tilak case (1897) - in this case Bal Gangadhar Tilak was arrested of sedition and arrested for 18 months and also in 1904 in his newspaper kesari he defended revolutionaries Khudiran Bose and Prafulia Chaki and because of that also he is arrested for sedition.
The seditions laws are interrupted many times in many cases and said that there should be two ingredients of sedition, they are, pubic disorder and violence. The court in light of case laws said that the acts which threaten states security is sedition. After this sedition cases are increasing and many challenged the constitutional validity of sedition laws.
2) Kedarnath vs. State of Bihar (1962) – in this case Kedarnath was arrested for sedition because of a speech in which he criticised the government. In this case the court held that section 124A of IPC defines sedition and it is constitutionally valid.
3)Balwant Singh vs. State of Punjab(1995) – in this case the people charged for sedition was released , the people write a slogan (Khalistan Zindabad) but that did not lead to any violence or disturb the public because of that the people are released.
4) Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India (2015) – in this case police arrested two women who posted seductive comments in Facebook related to shutdown of Mumbai due to the death of a political leader. In this case the court discussed about three important concepts with respect to freedom of expression, they are, discussion, advocacy and incitement. In this case it was held that mere advocacy or discussion is not sedition.
In UK 1972 to 2009 sedition law was practised and in 2009 it was completely abolished. We adopted the concept from UK they abolished it but still in India it is continued to practise. According to the data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), uploaded on its website, cases of sedition and under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act showed a rise in 2019, but only 3% of the sedition cases resulted in convictions. The year 2019 saw a 25% increase in the number of sedition cases and a 41% increase in arrests over the previous year. A total of 93 cases of sedition were reported in 2019, with 96 arrests and charge sheets filed in 76 cases, as against 70 cases, 56 arrests and 27 charge sheets the previous year.