Sedition: Fault in our Speech
School of Excellence in Law, Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, India.
Volume II – Issue III, 2020
Freedom of speech and expression is the most important liberty of the mankind, without which one cannot enjoy other liberties such as right to life, right to religion etc. However despite it’s importance, the right to speech can be destructed if it is not regulated properly. The Indian Constitution itself can damage this right on the grounds of sovereignty, public order and integrity. In light of these provisions Indian Penal Code prohibits seditious statements under 124A. As we all know the concept of sedition law is often under debate in India because of the actions of the State and Centre against normal activists, writers and even cartoonists who has been criticizing political slip made in the State. Recent data from NCRB shows 93 cases of sedition were filed in 2019 out of which charge sheets were filed in only 17% of the cases and the conviction rate was only about 3.3% and even though the conviction rate is comparatively low, it’s not something to be happy about since once arrested for the offence of sedition it’s quite a long process to get released which itself is considered to be a punishment. Most importantly the judiciary is grudging against giving bail to person accused of sedition unless they have “reasonable grounds to believe” that the accused is not guilty. The centre has no intention to curtail or strike down this provision anytime sooner despite all these criticisms.