Sedition : Kedarnath Judgement needs a review – UPSC GS2

  • In Vinod Dua’s case (2021), the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the law of sedition upheld in Kedarnath Singh (1962).
  • The Kedarnath judgment upheld the constitutional validity of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code.
Why Kedarnath judgment needs a review?
  • Supreme Court’s view in Kedarnath is consistently being ignored. Citizens of all ages have been charged with sedition for criticizing government authorities. For instance, the recent Lakshadweep case.
  • Section 124A of the IPC clearly violates Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Kedarnath judgment opens the door for misuse by making it conditional. It says that ‘only when the words written or spoken etc. which have the pernicious tendency or intention of creating public disorder’ the law steps in. So, if a policeman thinks that a cartoon has the pernicious tendency to create public disorder, he will arrest that cartoonist. It is the policeman and law enforcement machinery who would decide whether a person’s behaviour was seditious.
  • Law was enacted by the British colonial government with the sole objective of suppressing all voices of Indians.
People have the right to criticize the government, which is part and parcel of democracy. Hence, the law of sedition which penalizes people for criticizing the government should be declared unconstitutional.

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