Sedition Charges- Threat to democratic values - Seeker's Thoughts

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Monday, 8 April 2019

Sedition Charges- Threat to democratic values

Sedition: An introduction - Sedition meant to conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.

 Section 124- A of the Indian Penal Code was enacted under colonial rule. It was used against the freedom fighters who spoke against the British Rule.
The problem started arising even after post-independence the rule remained into practice. This was used against activists, detractors, writers, and even cartoonists.
Since Independence, even after there have been voices against it, it survived.

The Problems and issues 

There are certain questions which arise from time to time, as for how far is it justified for India to retain an offense introduced by the British to suppress freedom struggle. 
The basic charges of seditions are taken from the British rules, while they already abolished it a decade ago,
The Law Commission of India has visited the section various times, and every time it retained. 

https://www.seekersthoughts.com/2019/01/democracy-is-under-threat-worldwide.html
Democracy is under threat

Under the present law, strong criticism against government policies and personalities etc. are treated as seditious which shush the spirit of democracy. Criticism has to be a part of democracy so that government abstains from being tyrannical. However, constitutional provisions give the government power to silence the discontentment.
It comes under the punishable offense, and punishment includes Imprisonment for life and fine, or imprisonment for 3 years and fine, or fine. It is cognizable and Non-bail able—Triable by Court of Session—Non- compoundable, which makes it dangerous for the freedom of speech guaranteed under article 19(2) of fundamental rights.

The other dimension- This article 124 A is often seen as a reasonable restriction to the right to speech. However, great freedom fighter suffered from it, and Gandhi also opposed to the sedition law. 



A way ahead- Criticism against the government policies and decisions within a reasonable limit does not entice people to rebel is consistent with freedom of speech and expression. 
The law lacks fairness and transparency There are certain grey areas which have to be corrected. The change is only permanent, and societies change. The government should not restrict the criticism, as it will rise to discontent among people.