Why does the government want the sedition law to remain with “certain guarantees”?
It was hardly surprising when the court lamented the “enormous power of abuse” of the Sedition Act and asked the government why it should not abolish a colonial law that was once used by the British government to oppress freedom movements and leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi. and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
“Unfortunately, the maintenance of this law after 75 years (…) constitutes a serious threat to the functioning of institutions and the freedom of individuals,” noted a court headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana. He compared the indiscriminate use of Section 124A (sedition) in the Indian Penal Code as a saw in the hands of a carpenter who cuts down the entire forest instead of a tree.
Although it is a relic of the colonial heritage, the draconian law has been used in independent India to suppress dissent. The British used it to protect the Empire, although modern England disapproved of its use as a threat to democracy. The colonial government justified expanding the scope of sedition laws in its colonies, clearly reflecting a tendency to use sedition to suppress any kind of criticism.
The British Parliament abolished sedition as an offense in 2009, ruling that sedition and seditious and defamatory libel were obscure offenses that had no place at a time when free speech was seen as sacrosanct. holy. But as in many other cases, India has yet to catch up with more progressive ideas.