326 sedition cases filed in India from 2014 to 2019; only 6 convicted: Govt data
More than 300 cases were registered under the controversial, “colonial” era sedition law across the country from 2014 to 2019, news agency PTI has reported citing data from the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA). Of the total 326 cases registered under sedition in the six-year period, only six people were convicted, it further said.
According to the data, Assam reported the highest number of such cases, at 54. Of these, chargesheets were filed in 26 cases, while trials were completed in 25. However, none of these cases resulted in a conviction, the data showed.
Jharkhand and Haryana were next, with 40 and 31 cases respectively. In Jharkhand, chargesheets were filed in 29 cases and trials completed in 16, while the corresponding figures for Haryana were 19 and six respectively. However, both the states recorded one conviction each.
Next on the list are Bihar, Kerala and Jammu & Kashmir, with 25 cases each in this period, followed by Karnataka at 22. While no chargesheet was filed in both Bihar and Kerala, these were filed in three cases in Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka saw chargesheets in 17 cases. No case ended in a conviction in any of the four states.
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Among other states, 17 cases under the sedition law were reported from Uttar Pradesh, eight from West Bengal, four in Delhi, and one each in Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttarakhand. Both Uttar Pradesh and Bengal saw zero convictions, while no chargesheet was filed in Delhi. The data also showed that no sedition case was filed in the following states and Union territories: Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli in these six years.
As per the data, the number of sedition cases registered each year from 2014 to 2019 stood at 47, 30, 35, 51, 70 and 93 respectively. Two convictions were recorded in 2018, and one each in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019. No conviction took place in 2015.
According to MHA officials, data for 2020 is yet to be complied.
These numbers have come out at a time when the Supreme Court has expressed concern over “enormous” misuse of the law, which comes under section 124(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The top court questioned the Union government why it is not repealing the provision which was used by the British to “silence” freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi to suppress the freedom movement.