India post seventy decades of its Independence have continued to follow colonial laws based on needs and convenience. Sedition is one such law which being colonial is used against the criticisers of the Government till date. In the year 2014, some of the Kashmiri students were charged with sedition for supporting Pakistan in Indo- Pak cricket match. The Government of India too have agreed on the misuse of law in several instances.
Mahatma Gandhiji, the father of our nation was imprisoned under sedition for his write-ups, which were disaffectionate towards the British rule. Bapu, who was the editor of the journal ‘Young India’ back then refused to accept the guilt and was punished for six years. The laws like UAPA and sedition which were the colonial weapons to suppress freedom fighters today has turned out to be the legal weapons utilised to suppress the anti-governmental voices in Independent India.
Section 124 A in the Indian Penal Code, named ‘Sedition’ states, “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 life imprisonment. As a welcoming act of justice Supreme Court gave a verdict on suspension of the law until government re-examines the same. It has come post journalists knocking the courts of justice against the law. With Freedom of Speech and Expression being guaranteed under the Fundamental Rights, the Government of the nation is responsible for its citizens. In a country without a shadow cabinet, at least the criticism by the citizens will help in an introspection towards a developmental governance.
The initiation of Supreme Court seeking to introspect the law is appreciable. At the same time draconian laws like UAPA too has to be considered in introspection. With the several journalists like that of Siddique Kappan who was arrested on his way to report Hathras rape case will gain their justice. At times when India has ranked the lowest for the Freedom of Press, such a move from the court of justice will relieve the transparent and truthful journalists from the life-threatening laws.