Revisiting the Colonial Relic of Sedition in India – A Legal Analysis

Niranjan Kumar
School of Law, Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India

Volume III – Issue II, 2021

Governments have used the 140 year archaic law of “sedition” against their opponents or rivals as a whip to suppress dissent in the world’s largest democracy since independence. The existence and legality of sedition laws in contemporary Indian culture have been called further into question in light of their recent implementation. Recent charges of sedition leveled against CAA and NRC demonstrators have prompted the heated debate again. Amulya was held in pre-trial detention for 14 days for shouting the slogan “Pakistan Zindabad” at an anti-CAA rally in Bangalore while the mother of a student and the principal of a school in Karnataka were arrested by state police in January 2020 on the charges of sedition after students presented a work that allegedly went against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Registry of Citizens (NRC). Through the course of this paper, the history of this colonial relic will be traced and analyzed as a potential contravention of the Freedom of Speech guaranteed by our Constitution.

Keywords: Sedition, Disaffection, Freedom of Speech, Reasonable Restriction, Section 124A, Free Speech


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