Don’t let sedition law make a mockery of democracy – By Rakesh Dwivedi
It’s quaint and paradoxical that while the Elizabethan law of sedition (1593), as refined and applied by different States later, was effaced from the statute book by the Coroners and Justice Act, 2009, we in India are continuing with this law as a criminal offence under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)….
However, the fears of the framers of the Constitution about its misuse seem to have come true as different governments have used it freely to quell democratic dissent. Recently, farmers, students, writers, political opponents, etc. have been arrested on sedition charges. And, the Supreme Court has rightly admitted the matter for scrutiny….
Democracy and these rights necessarily imply opposition to the government of the day. They imply criticism of government actions or inaction. Criticism can be sharp and pungent. Governments may dislike it, but that is irrelevant. So, the sedition law cannot be used to suppress dissent or dissenters….