Supreme Court puts sedition law on hold, those in jail can apply for relief
Sedition law on hold: Those who are in jail under the provisions of the sedition law can approach courts for relief, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, in a historic decision, put a stay on the sedition law and ruled that no new FIRs will be lodged under this sedition law until the Centre reexamines the provisions of this British-era law, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court. Dictating the order, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said it will be appropriate to not use the law while those already booked under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code and are in jail can approach the courts for relief. "We hope and expect that Centre and states will restrain from registering fresh FIRs under Section 124A (sedition) of IPC," the order said.
'Why can’t sedition law be put on hold,' Supreme Court asks Centre
The apex court issued the order a day after it asked the Centre whether the pending sedition cases can be kept in abeyance. The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that staying provision of the sedition law may not be a correct approach. Instead, the Centre can ask the states that only a police officer of the rank of SP or above must record in writing the reasons and compliance with the SC judgment in the Vinod Dua case before a fresh sedition case is to be lodged. There has to be a responsible officer for scrutiny and his satisfaction is subject to judicial review, solicitor general Tushar Mehta said.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Centre's stand on keeping the pending sedition cases in abeyance until the Centre goes through the provisions of the law which has been challenged in the apex court. The solicitor general said, "As far as pending cases, we don't know the gravity of each cases, may be there is a terror angle, or money laundering. Ultimately, the pending cases are before judicial forum, and we need to trust the courts."
"What your lordships can consider is if there is a stage of bail application involving Section 124A IPC. The bail applications may be decided expeditiously," advocate Mehta said adding that there is no accused before the court. "To entertain in a PIL may be a dangerous precedent," he said.
As advocate Kapil Sibal representing the petition challenging the sedition law said the Centre's proposal is not acceptable, Justice Surya Kant asked Sibal who, according to them, should be a fair and impartial authority to scrutinise the registration of FIR. Sticking to the point that this provision should be stayed as long as the Centre reviews the sedition law, Sibal said the issue of scrutinising the registration of FIR should not go to anyone.