Sedition: The Doom of India

Sidhartha Singh
Amity Law School, Delhi, India.

Volume III – Issue II, 2021

In our rich legal history, there can hardly be an enactment which can parallel let alone surpass the controversial relic of imperialism that is Sedition. Deliberately left out of the Draft Penal Code of Thomas Babington Macaulay, it finds its way in because of contingencies unfathomed. The extensive and expansive power of Section 124A ergo Sedition, has been used by the avaricious Imperial Forces to stifle and arrest embers of Dissent. Cases galore from Jogendra Chandra Bose to ‘Lokmanya’ Bal Gangadhar Tilak, from Mahatma Gandhi to Jawaharlal Nehru, from Ganesh Savarkar to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. One would have hoped that after getting deep wounds from the sharp teeth of Sedition, the Elected Constituent Assembly will abolish this draconian law. But alas, it still lives.

In this paper the Author traces the Legislative History of the colonial relic from the drafting and enforcement of Indian Penal Code to legendary trials of Indian Freedom Fighters under the section. The Author will discuss the development of law that happened in the British Raj and the landmark pronouncements of the Federal Court of India and the Privy Council. The Author will delve into the Constituent Assembly Debates to paint what was in the mind of the Framers and how the jurisprudence on the law evolved in Independent India. Lastly, the Author will discuss how the draconian law is being misused in contemporary India.


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