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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

SC bar on sedition laws continues for now


The Supreme Court on Monday said its hold on sedition law will continue till the second week of January as the Centre seeks more time to review the 152-year-old provision.

Attorney General R Venkataramani told the Supreme Court that the issue qs engaging the attention of the government and something may happen in the winter session of Parliament.

“Something may happen in the winter session… There is thinking on the subject and some change may happen before the winter session. There is no reason to worry now with the interim order in place,” he told a Bench led by Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit hearing petitions seeking quashing of Section 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

“All interests and concerns are protected and this on his assurance we adjourn the matter to the second week of January 2023,” the Supreme Court said, and noted that the earlier order had stated that the government had considered to take a re-look at 124A.

Earlier, the top court had barred authorities from using this section to arrest or prosecute individuals under sedition law.

On May 9, the Centre had in its affidavit, filed before the Supreme Court, said that it will re-examine and re-consider provisions of sedition law.

“The PM believes that at a time when our nation is marking ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ we need to, as a nation, work even harder to shed colonial baggage that has passed its utility, which includes outdated colonial laws and practices,” the Centre said in an affidavit.

The petitioners who challenged the constitutional validity of the sedition law are the Editors Guild, former Major General S G Vombatkere, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and many others.

Section 124-A deals with any speech that brings or to bring into hatred or contempt or disaffection towards the government established by law in India a criminal offence punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Former Union Minister and veteran journalist Arun Shourie also moved the Supreme Court on the issue.

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