Updated: Jun 1, 2022
On 11 May 2022 the Supreme Court of India passed an historic order in the hope and expectation that “state and Central Governments will restrain from registering any FIR continuing any investigation or taking in coercive measures by invoking” the ‘sedition’* provision in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), (Section 124A) “while aforesaid provision of law is under consideration” of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court also gave liberty to parties affected by fresh registration of cases under Section 124A of IPC to approach concerned courts and further the court requested the concerned courts to examine the relief sought by taking into account the order of the Supreme Court and the stand taken by the Union of India before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has also directed to keep all pending trials, appeals and proceedings with respect to the charges framed under Section 124A of IPC in abeyance. These directions, among others, were issued by the Supreme Court of India in petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition provision**.
* 124A of IPC “Sedition.—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, [***] the Government established by law in [India], [***] shall be punished with [imprisonment for life], to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine. Explanation 1.—The expression “disaffection” includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity. Explanation 2.—Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section. Explanation 3.—Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.]”
** Order dated 11.05.2022 in WP ( C) Nos. 552,682,773,1181,1381 of 2021, W.P. (Crl) Nos. 106, 304,307, 498 of 2021.