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Former Union Minister Arun Shourie challenges sedition law in SC

Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, July 15: Former Union Minister Arun Shourie has challenged the sedition law in Supreme Court.

Shourie challenged the validity of Section 124A (Sedition) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as violative of Articles 14 and 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution.

Arun Shourie c

Earlier a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India said that sedition is a colonial law which surpasses freedom. It was used against Mahatma Gandhi, the Bench also said.

Do we still need the colonial era sedition law, 75 years after independence: Supreme CourtDo we still need the colonial era sedition law, 75 years after independence: Supreme Court

Is this law necessary after 75 years of independence? I am justice indicating here what I am thinking, the CJI also said. He further said if you look at the history of the use of this section (124A of IPC), you will find that the conviction rate is very low. There is misuse of power by the executive agencies. The use of sedition law is like giving a saw to a carpenter to cut a piece of wood and he uses it to cut the entire forest itself, the CJI also said.

The court then asked the Centre if it is time to do away with the sedition law, while also saying that it is a threat on institutions and individuals. Attorney General, K K Venugopal said that strict guidelines on its working will suffice the purposes.

The plea, filed by Major-General S G Vombatkere (Retd) submitted that Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the offence of sedition, is wholly unconstitutional and should be unequivocally and unambiguously struck down".

The petitioner contends that a statute criminalising expression based on unconstitutionally vague definitions of 'disaffection towards Government' etc. is an unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right to free expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and causes constitutionally impermissible 'Chilling Effect' on speech", the plea said.

The petition said there is need to take into account the "march of the times and the development of the law" before dealing with Section 124-A.

Earlier, a separate bench of the top court had sought response from the Centre on a plea challenging the Constitutional validity of sedition law, filed by two journalists -- Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla -- working in Manipur and Chhattisgarh respectively.

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