Topic-Indian polity : issues
3) Critically comment on the way the courts have interpreted the Section 124(A) of the penal code. Comment on what do you think the future of sedition law in India should be? (250 words)
Why this question
Sedition law is again in news courtesy chargesheet filed against the accused in JNU row. This issue needs to be examined in detail and we need to form an opinion on what the future of sedition law in the country should be.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain what section 124A entails and comment on the courts interpretation of the same. Thereafter, we need to logically give an argument regarding the future of sedition law in the country.
Critically comment – When you are asked to comment, you have to pick main points and give your ‘opinion’ on them based on evidences or arguments stemming from your wide reading. Critically comment is also forming opinion on main points but in the end you have to provide a fair judgement.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Highlight why this issue is in news.
- Explain that In india,sedition is 124A of Indian penal code & when person charged under this IPC. The offence is punishable with imprisonment for life.
- Court have interpreted 124A of Indian penal code in many cases relate to 124A section:
- Kedar Nath Singh Vs State of Bihar 1962: constitutional bench of supreme court made clear that allegedly seditious speech & expression may be punished only if speech is an incitement to violence or public disorder.
- Subsequent cases have further clarified the meaning of this phrase.
In Indra Das vs State of Assam & Arup Bhuyan vs State of Assam, Supreme Court stated that only speech that amounts to “incitement to imminent lawless action” can be criminalised.
- Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab, Supreme Court overturned the convictions for sedition(124A IPC) and Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc (153 A IPC).
- Based on the opinion of the court and how the sedition law has been used in the country, give your view on the future of sedition law.
Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward