The wretched law of sedition frequently comes to the rescue of people in power left cold by the despondence of their deeds. It is hardly surprising that the colonial British empire tried to warm its morally naked soul by taking shelter behind the offense of sedition as enacted under Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). What defies logic is the deafening silence of the Parliament of independent India on the offense of sedition which was responsible for conviction of renowned freedom fighters like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatama Gandhi. Realizing the potential for mischief by the draconian use of Section 124 A of IPC, the Supreme Court of India read it down in successive judgments. This was done by invoking Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, the sentinel of freedom of speech and expression. After the judicial intervention, now it is impossible for anyone to be convicted under Section 124 A for the crime of sedition unless his/her words have directly led to actual act of violence in pursuance of the speech.However,no amount of judicial stratagem can compensate for the lack of legislative intervention to increase the boundaries of free speech. Continuance of Section 124 A on the statute books is nothing short of betrayal of the Indian tryst with destiny. Law of sedition is a burden on the sole of our freedom fighters and they must be relieved of it at the earliest.
Dr. Ayaz Ahmad, Associate Professor of Law, Unitedworld School of Law (UWSL)
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