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everyone likes sedition law

The Supreme Court’s decision on Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code i.e. Sedition Act is historic but it is not a final victory. It is an incomplete or partial victory, the completion of which will depend on the stand taken by the current ruling establishment. Looking at the stand so far, it does not seem that the government is going to end it. It may change its form, some of its provisions may be changed, the provisions of penal action may be softened somewhat but it is bound to remain.

This is because this or this kind of law is liked by all governments. Whether the government has been of Congress or of BJP, it needs a stick. The sedition law is one such stick, the use of which is considered quite safe. The very name of this law gives a sense of a big crime. If an action is taken against someone under this law, then it is not an action taken to prevent any ordinary criminal act, but an action taken to prevent sedition or treason. So it also has a political meaning.

This is the reason why this law is in place till today, otherwise it should have been abolished long ago. This law made by the British should have been abolished immediately after independence. The Supreme Court rightly asked that what is the need of that law in independent India, which has been used to take action against Mahatma Gandhi and other freedom fighters like him? But not only did its need remain in independent India, but its use also increased with time. In the last eight years i.e. since 2014, 399 cases were registered under this law across the country. It is not that only central agencies or the governments of BJP ruled states have sued under this law. State governments of other parties also use it openly.

In Maharashtra, the government of Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP has registered a case of sedition against famous actress Kangana Ranaut only on the basis of statements, while MP Navneet Rana, who announced to recite Hanuman Chalisa outside the Chief Minister’s residence, was also booked under sedition law. A case was registered under Think, for the work for which action should be taken under section 144 or section 107, section 124A is imposed. Sedition law was imposed against several people after a letter was allegedly recovered from the computer of social activists, against writer Arundhati Roy for her speeches, writings and statements and Kanhaiya Kumar for allegedly raising slogans of independence. Sedition law was also imposed against him.

These are a few representative cases, mentioning which it is understandable how much governments like this law. The Congress party is putting the BJP government at the Center in the dock regarding this law, but from 2004 to 2014, when it was in the central government for ten years, it did not take the initiative to abolish this law even once. After ruling for ten years, before the 2014 elections, the party promised in its manifesto that if it came to the government, it would abolish the sedition law. Obviously the one in the government does not talk about abolishing this law. The opposition parties demand its abolishment as the sedition law’s baton runs against them. The present government is also talking about looking into it instead of ending it for this reason.

No one should remain in misunderstanding on the intention of the central government regarding this law. The intention of the central government is the same as it had expressed earlier. The matter came up for hearing for the first time in July 2021 and since then in almost a year, the central government has not been able to form its opinion on it nor can it answer in the court. Even when the Supreme Court fixed May 5, 2022, the Center sought more time. Till then the government kept on defending this law and suddenly two days later it started talking about its revision and reconsideration according to the spirit of Amrit Mahotsav of Independence and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government has openly said that the filing of cases against those working against the country cannot be stopped. The Supreme Court’s decision is also not a complete ban.

The government’s reluctance to repeal the sedition law is also surprising because the government already has a strong stick of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). In 2019, the central government has made this UAPA even more strict by amending it. Through the 2019 amendment, a provision has been added to this that the government can declare any person as a terrorist without following the legal process. It is a strict law like TADA or POTA. Despite this, if the government wants to retain the sedition law, then surely there will be some other thinking behind it.

It seems that calling someone a terrorist or a naxalist is more appropriate than a traitor or a traitor. There is more damage to the image of the people due to a case of treason or sedition. The reason for believing this is that Section 124A is generally being used against political opponents only. Apart from the stated purpose of preventing crime, both the National Security Act and the Sedition Act are used for two other purposes. The first is to silence the voice of the opponents and the second is to tarnish their image. That’s when in a civilized democratic country there is no place for such a law, despite it having its place.

Shubham Bangwal

Shubham Bangwal is a Senior Journalist at You can follow him on Twitter @sb_0fficial
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