Section 124A misuse
Part of: Prelims and GS-II -Acts and policies
Context Recently, Union Law Minister replied in Parliament that there is no proposal to scrap sedition charge from the Indian Penal Code.
- Few months ago, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana had remarked about the chilling effect of the “colonial law”, which suppresses the freedoms of ordinary people
What is Section 124A IPC?
- It defines sedition as an offence committed when “any person 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”.
- Disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
- However, comments without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, will not constitute an offence under this section.
Historical Background of Sedition Law
- Sedition laws were enacted in 17th century England when lawmakers believed that only good opinions of the government should survive.
- The law was originally drafted in 1837 by Thomas Macaulay.
- Section 124A was inserted in 1870 by an amendment introduced by Sir James Stephen when it felt the need for a specific section to deal with the offence.
- It was one of the many draconian laws enacted to stifle any voices of dissent at that time