The sedition law, Section 124A(sedition) of the Indian Penal Code, was withheld by the apex court, on 11 May 2022, till the Union Government re-examines the law. The center can pass directives to states to prevent misuse of the law. The court observed that it was not proper to register any FIR under Section 124 A (sedition law) or initiate proceeding under the same till re-examination is over.

About 13,000 people are currently in prison in accordance with this law. They can approach the courts for bail.

Section 124A in The Indian Penal Code [124A. Sedition.—Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards,  [***] the Government estab­lished by law in  [India], [***] shall be punished with [im­prisonment for life], to which fine may be added, or with impris­onment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
Explanation 1.—The expression “disaffection” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
Explanation 2.—Comments expressing disapprobation of the meas­ures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.
Explanation 3.—Comments expressing disapprobation of the admin­istrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.]

As per Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code: ‘whoever attempts to excite feelings of disaffection to the Government established by law in British India’ was to be punished with transportation for life or for any term or with imprisonment upto three years.

Sedition law was introduced in 1890. During the British rule, Section 124A was used to supress the national movement by curtailing the freedom of press. Many freedom fighters and journalists were arrested under this sedition law.

On 27 July 1879 Bal Gangadhar Tilak was arrested by the British Government in Rand assaination case, under Section 124A. He was accused for spreading disaffection and hatred against the Government. In 1922 Mahatma Gandhi was arrested and sent to prison for six years for his articles written in “Young India“.

Mahatma Gandhi
(A 1922 photo)

‘Since you have done me the honor of recalling the trial of the late Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, I just want to say that I consider it to be proudest privilege and honor to be associated with his name.”

Mahatma Gandhi
Reply in the courts when the Judge pronounced the judgement of his arrest.

In 1962, Kedar Nath Singh vs State Of Bihar , the Supreme Court upheld the validity of sesction 124A of IPC. The court, then upheld the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Indian Penal Code that penalized sedition.

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