Supreme Court places sedition law on hold

SRINAGAR — In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, the Supreme Court stayed the sedition law and ordered that no new FIRs be filed under it until the Centre reexamines the terms of the British-era law, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice of India NV Ramana issued the decision, saying that it would be inappropriate to apply the legislation when people who have already been charged under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code and are in prison may seek redress from the courts.

The ruling said that the SC hopes and expects the Centre and States to refrain from filing further FIRs under Section 124A (sedition) of the IPC.

25 cases registered under sedition law in J&K in 5 years

At a time when the Supreme Court has put a freeze on British-era sedition law, official data reveals that 25 cases were registered under it in Jammu & Kashmir from 2014 to 2019.

The data accessed by news agency Kashmir News Observer (KNO) lays bare that 25 cases were registered under colonial-era law of sedition in Jammu & Kashmir from 2014 to 2019.

According to the data, one case each under the sedition law was registered in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015 and 2017. As per data, not a single case was registered under the law in J&K in 2014 and 2016.

The data lays bare that 12 cases were registered in 2018 when the erstwhile State was ruled by the PDP-BJP coalition government for nearly six months before the imposition of Governor’s Rule on June 20 that year after BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti-led government citing “deteriorating security situation” in the State.

In the year 2019 when the Government of India abrogated Article 370 and reorganized the erstwhile state of J&K into two Union Territories, 11 cases were registered under sedition law in J&K.

It is worthwhile to mention that Section 124A of IPC states that whoever “brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India” can be held to have committed sedition.

While IPC became applicable to J&K after its reorganization, the provisions of sedition law were also existing in the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), which was applicable to J&K till October 30, 2019.

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