The issue regarding the abuse of sedition law was highlighted after arrest of 67 Jammu and Kashmir students under section 124A of the India Penal Code (IPC) for cheering and celebrating victory of Pakistan’s cricket team against India in the Asia Cup in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.
Students of Swami Vivekananda Subharti University from Jammu and Kashmir involved in this case were expelled from college by vice-chancellor of Meerut University. But after intervention of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah they were released and charges were withdrawn.
But this incident lead to widespread controversy.
Under section 124A of IPC, 1860, conducts of sedition are included, but word “Sedition” is not mentioned in section 124A of IPC.
In this section it states that whoever by words, either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise brings into hatred or contempt or excites disaffection towards Government established by law, shall be punished with imprisonment for 3 years with fine.
Explanation of the above paragraph
- i. From above paragraph the expression disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
- ii. Expressing disapprobation Government including exciting or attempting to excite hatred contempt to disaffection against government.
To avoid charges section 124A, it must be noted that to avoid –
- Bringing or attempting to bring hatred or contempt or exciting or attempting to excite disaffection towards Government of India.
- Such act or attempt may be done by –
- By visible words either spoken or written.
- By signs
- By visible representation.
Famous cases under Section 124A of IPC
Ram Nandan was sentenced 3 years of imprisonment under section 124A of IPC. This sentenced was announced by Hon’ble High Court against his public speech given to 200 farmers in village against the Government of India and exciting oral speech to act against the Government including armed rebellion. This case went to SC, as it violates his fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression under article 19(1) (a) of Indian Constitution.
Hence the Government, amended article 19 by the 1st amendment in 1951, to impose restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression – e.g. for security of the state, public order decency or morality or in relation t contempt of court, defamation or incitement of an offence.