Supreme Court disposes of PIL over ‘misuse’ of sedition law
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a petition that asked it to direct all the police chiefs to examine all reported sedition instances before registering a case to ensure that the law is not misused.
The court disposed of the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by non-profit organisation (NGO) Common Cause and anti-nuclear activist SP Uday Kumar, who wanted the Supreme Court to lay down guidelines to prevent the increasing misuse of sedition law in the country.
The apex court noted that the guidelines under which the sedition law can be invoked have already been laid down.
“Someone making a statement to criticize the government does not invoke an offence under sedition or defamation law. We have made it clear that invoking of section 124(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (sedition) requires certain guidelines to be followed as per the earlier judgement of the SC,” the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice UU Lalit said.
The petitioners cited the recent incident of Amnesty India getting slapped with harsh sections after ‘anti-India’ slogans were raised during one of its events in Bengaluru as an example of the sedition law being abused.
Quoting official statistics, the petitioners complained that 58 persons were arrested in 2014 and 47 cases of sedition were booked in the country.
Common Cause and Kumar wanted a direction from the apex court to make it mandatory for the concerned authority to produce an order from the director general of police (DGP) or police commissioner, certifying that a “seditious act” could either incite violence or had the intention of creating disorder, before registering a case or arresting an individual.