Historic: SC Asks Centre And States To Refrain From Invoking Sedition Law Until Re-examination

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today ruled that the sedition statute be put on hold while the administration completes its assessment. Those who are already facing sedition accusations can seek bail from the courts.

“The Union of India will reconsider the law. The petitioners say the law is being misused. The Attorney General had also mentioned the sedition charge filed in Hanuman Chalisa case. It will be appropriate not to use this provision of law till further re-examination is over. We hope and expect that centre and state will desist from registering any FIR under 124A or initiate proceeding under the same till re-examination is over,” said Chief Justice NV Ramana.

If any fresh cases are filed, those charged can approach the court. “The Union of India is at liberty to pass directives to states to prevent misuse of the law,” the Chief Justice added.

Earlier in the day, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court, which is hearing the sedition law case, that the Centre has prepared a draft for the reconsideration of the law. The draft states that an FIR will be registered with sedition charges only if a police officer of the rank of SP says there is a valid reason for the same.

The Sedition Law

The Supreme Court is examining petitions challenging the constitutionality of the sedition legislation, which has been widely criticized for its alleged abuse by previous regimes to settle political scores.

The Supreme Court had asked the Centre in July 2021 why it was not removing a colonial-era statute used by the British to silence Mahatma Gandhi.

“This was the law used by the Britishers to silence Mahatma Gandhi. Do you think this law is still necessary?” Chief Justice of India N V Ramana has asked.

The court had emphasised that their main concern is the misuse of the sedition law and the accountability of agencies in using it. “There is a serious threat of misuse,” the Supreme Court noted.

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