The archaic colonial-era sedition law is back in the spotlight after the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at an event organised to protest the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
The National Crime Records Bureau started collecting data on sedition and other offences against the state from 2014.
The bureau records the figures under two heads called offences against the state (under sections 121, 121A, 122, 123 and 124A of the Indian Penal Code) and those promoting enmity between different groups (under sections 153A and 153B IPC).
These two figures are further combined under an umbrella term called ‘total offences against the state’.
Five hundred and twelve cases of ‘total offences against the state’ were reported during 2014. The maximum number of such cases were reported in Kerala (72) followed by Assam (56), Karnataka (46), Rajasthan (39), Maharashtra (34) and Meghalaya (32).
Eight hundred and seventy two people (865 men and 7 women) were arrested under total offences committed against the state during 2014. The maximum number of people arrested were reported in Maharashtra (204 out of 872 persons), accounting for 23.4% of total such arrests during 2014.
Section 124A or sedition comes under the first head - offences against the state.
Out of the total 512 cases, 47 were reported under sedition during 2014. Jharkhand and Bihar have accounted for 72.3% of these cases.
A total of 58 people were arrested for sedition in 2014. The maximum number of people or 28 were arrested in Bihar followed by 18 in Jharkhand under this offence.
Under the offences of waging war or attempt/conspiring to wage war or collecting arms for this purpose (sections 121, 121A, 122 and 123), a total of 129 cases were reported wherein maximum were reported in Assam (55) followed by Meghalaya (32) and Manipur (10). These three states together accounted for 75.2% of such cases.
A total of 166 people were arrested in 2014 under these sections.
A total of 336 cases of promoting enmity between different groups (under section 153A and 153B IPC) were reported in 2014. Kerala followed by Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have reported 65, 46, 39, 33, 26 and 21 cases respectively during 2014.
A total of 648 people (645 men and three women) were arrested under these sections in 2014.