SC Puts Sedition Law On Hold, Asks Centre And States Not To Register FIRs Under Section 124A

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has put the contentious sedition law on hold and has urged the Centre and States to refrain from registering any FIRs invoking Section 124A IPC. The Supreme Court has allowed the Central government to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of Section 124A of the IPC which criminalises the offence of sedition. SC said till the exercise of re-examination is complete, no case will be registered under 124A.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Wednesday said during the reconsideration of the sedition law a proposed draft direction will be issued by the Centre.

In his argument, Solicitor General informed SC that it cannot prevent police from registering a cognisable offence under the sedition provision, but FIR under Section 124A is to be registered only if the area Superintendent of Police is satisfied that the facts of a case involve a sedition offence.

“As far as pending cases, we don’t know the gravity of each case, maybe there is a terror angle or money laundering. Ultimately, the pending cases are before the judicial forum, and we need to trust the courts,” Solicitor General said.

Supreme Court on Tuesday had sought the Centre’s stand on keeping the pending sedition cases in abeyance.

As the central government had agreed to re-examine the colonial-era law on Monday, the apex court posted two queries. One is about the pending cases and the second is about how the government will take care of future cases until reconsideration. 

The top court agreed that a re-look of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) be left to the government only.

The court, however, expressed concern over the continuous abuse of the provision and even suggested that guidelines may be issued to stop the abuse or a decision to keep the sedition law in abeyance till the review exercise is completed.

Earlier, the Centre had defended Section 124A but in an affidavit on Monday said it has decided to “re-examine and reconsider” the sedition law and also urged the Supreme Court not to “invest time” in examining its validity once again.

The matter is being heard by a bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.

Sedition Law Cases In India

According to National Crime Records Bureau, 356 cases of sedition were registered, and 548 persons were arrested between 2015 and 2020. However, just 12 persons detained in seven sedition cases were convicted in this six-year period.

(With PTI Inputs)

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