Central Government to Reconsider & Re-examine Sedition Law

In response to a batch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which criminalises the offence of sedition, the Supreme Court (‘SC’) in July 2021 had questioned the Central Government whether the law was needed after 75 years of independence. The affidavit filed by the Central Government, in response to the question raised by the SC, said, “The Government of India being fully cognizant of various views being expressed on the subject of sedition and also having considered the concerns of civil liberties and human rights, while committed to maintain and protect the sovereignty and integrity of this great nation, has decided to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code which can be done only before the competent forum“.

The judgment in Kedar Nath Singh vs. State of Bihar, which upheld the validity of Section 124A, was rendered by a 5-judge Constitution bench of the SC. Hence, as the matter is currently before a 3-judge bench, the SC is considering referring the matter to a Constitution bench of five or more judges.