- February 10, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject: National Legislations
Context: The Supreme Court on Tuesday protected Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and six senior journalists from arrest in multiple sedition FIRs registered against them for allegedly tweeting and sharing unverified news.
- Sedition, which falls under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, is defined as any action that brings or attempts to bring hatred or contempt towards the government of India and has been illegal in India since 1870.
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, as bad opinions were detrimental to the government and monarchy.
- This sentiment (and law) was borrowed and inserted into the Section 124A of IPC in 1870, by the British.
- British used Sedition law to convict and sentence freedom fighters. It was first used to prosecute Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1897.
- Mahatama Gandhi, too, was later tried for sedition for his articles in Young India.
Supreme Court Observations
- In 1962, the Supreme Court decided on the constitutionality of Section 124A in KedarNath Singh v State of Bihar.
- It upheld the constitutionality of sedition, but limited its application to “acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder, or disturbance of law and order, or incitement to violence”.
- It distinguished these from “very strong speech” or the use of “vigorous words” strongly critical of the government.
- In 1995, the Supreme Court, in Balwant Singh v State of Punjab, held that mere sloganeering which evoked no public response did not amount to sedition.