Sedition law won’t be scrapped: Centre
The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday clarified that section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code, popularly called the sedition law, will not be scrapped.
In a written answer to the Parliament the Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai said there is “need to retain the provisions to effectively combat anti-national, secessionist and terrorist elements”
Scrapping the sedition law was one of the key poll promises of the Congress party and figured in the party’s manifesto as well. The Prime Minister had in his election campaign severely criticised the Congress and questioned its intention over this.
The law states: “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 government shall be punished with imprisonment for three years or for life along with a fine. “ Activists allege that the law gives sweeping powers to law enforcing wings of the government.
As per the 2016 annual report – the last available report— of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) there were 176 sedition cases registered by 29 states. In addition, the five Union Territories reported another two. Among states, Meghalaya reported 42 cases – the maximum number by any state -- followed by Jammu and Kashmir which registered 16 cases. Other states that have used the sedition law include Assam and Haryana which registered 21 and 14 cases respectively. Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Punjab did not use the law at all.