Draconian Law Like Sedition Should be Srapped?

I would like to start with the formation of the Sedition law that came into force in the 1860s and was introduced by the Britishers to subdue the Wahabi movement and freedom fighters such as Gangadhar Tilak and Gandhi who were challenging the Britisher's authoritative action, rules, and policies.

Paradoxically Uk abolished the sedition law from their country in 2009 and even if it had existed before, no citizen was ever charged with sedition. After Independence Jawaharlal Nehru in 1951 declare sedition law as highly objectionable and unpleasant.

Now here I would like to highlight the difference between sedition and hatred speech. Hate speech is when you create tension between two communities or individuals. Whereas When you challenge the constitutional arrangements of India, that’s how sedition should be defined or referred to. To tackle these and to draw the clear boundary between sedition and hatred speech alternative laws can be introduced. Until and unless if someone words are not harming someone else sentiments and emotions and not creating a situation of disharmony, no one should be punished.

Although many amendments were made in sedition. The Supreme Court has mentioned in its interpretation of Section 124A clearly says that any speech or write-up or word has to be against the government then only the action will be charged with sedition. Is this something constitutional in itself? And in the famous case of Balwant Singh, who vocalize the slogan "Khalistan Zindabad". The Supreme court stated that, if the speech complained about does not result in any actual incitement to violence, then the person won’t be charged with sedition. Why are we forgetting that constitution is "of the people, by the people and for the people" not "of the government, by the government for the government"

I can criticize any political leaders, government policy and I can portray the loopholes that our system possesses. How it will help? It will make the government and system more accountable and apparent. And if the government is doing everything with the right intention, then what they are scared of? And why there is a need for us to have such laws as sedition? But the irony is that in independent India, this provision is being used to bully and terrorize citizens.

Now I would like to point out some facts to support my stance that why Sedition law should be scrapped. Viewing some recent cases for instance: first, the teachers and parents were arrested by police, and students were called to the police station for interrogation because of their play of anti-CAA in Karnataka. Secondly, during lockdown FIR was filed against Siddharth 'the wire' editor because he raised questions against UP CM about paying more attention to Ram Mandir's construction in such a hard time of corona. The Hindustan times reported the government data of 326 sedition cases filed in India from 2014 to 2019 out of which only 6 were convicted. All this is suggesting not just the unjust nature of this law but it is also keeping the people in dilemma that whether their case will be proceeding further or not and creating mysterious and insecure environment for them.

I believe that the leader should be the one who can tolerate the criticism and if he finds any mistake or loopholes in their actions as pointed by the public, they should have a space to recheck and reconstruct . The government is meant to serve the public interest not their interest. Today every citizen is carrying a fear with them and finding it hard for themselves to speak up for what they feel is right or wrong.

If you say something against any ruling or opposition party, you are speaking against the nation. No, it shouldn’t be interpreted that way. It will just be hindering the right to freedom of express and to become a well-informed citizen. I think we need to get rid away with this law as soon as possible if we desire to make our country truly free and independent. Therefore a law that is allowing misuse of it in restricting the public from keeping their views with confidence and righteous manner, should not be a part of our constitutional anatomy. I believe that "without the freedom to criticize, question, and challenge the conventional practices and views, societies cannot make progress".

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Kartika Sharma

Kartika Sharma

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