SECTION 124A – INDIAN PENAL CODE (SEDITION)
The framers of Indian constitution defined the term state under Article 12 as a union of the state government and union government, the parliament and state legislatures and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of Government of India.
India is a republic democratic state. Every citizen of Indian state has been provided with certain fundamental rights which they enjoy without any discrimination of caste, colour and creed. Article 19 of Constitution of India deals with Right to freedom under which every citizen of India has freedom of speech and expression. The Right to freedom, as under Article 19(1) says:
All citizens of India shall have the right-
- To freedom of speech and expression
- To assemble peaceably and without arms
- To form associations or unions
- To move freely throughout the territory of India
- To reside and settle in any part of the territory of India
- To practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
In context of recent controversies among educational institutions and government of India regarding freedom of speech and nationalism, it is better to get acquainted with the provisions provided under IPC Section-124A which defines sedition in wide, elaborative terms, and punishes the act with life imprisonment.
Defining Section 124A
124A—Sedition—Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
Explanation 1—The expression disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
Explanation 2—Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government with a view to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.
Explanation 3—Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.
PUNISHMENTS OF OFFENCE
- Imprisonment for life and fine, or imprisonment for 3 years and fine, or
- Triable by Court of Session
The offence of sedition under section 124A is the doing of certain acts which would bring the Government established by law in India into hatred or contempt, or create disaffection against it; Bilal Ahmed Kaloo v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (1997) Supreme Today 127.
1. Subs. by Act 4 of 1898, s. 4, for the original s. 124A which had been ins. by Act 27 of 1870, s. 5.
2. The words “Her Majesty or” omitted by the A.O. 1950. The words “or the Crown Representative inserted after the word “Majesty” by the A.O. 1937 were omitted by the A.O. 1948.
3. The words “British India” have successively been subs. by the A.O. 1948, the A.O.1950 and Act 3 of 1951, sec.3 and sch. to read as above.
4. The words or “British Burma” ins. by the A.O.1937 omitted by the A.O.1948.
5. Subs. by Act 26 of 1955, sec.117 and sch., for “Transportation for life or any shorter term” (w.e.f.1-1-1956).
None of the section of the constitution of India defines the word Sedition. IPC Section 124A only expresses the offence of sedition and has always been used to suppress the voice of the citizens of India. Since the time of British rule over India, the section 124A acted as a nuclear weapon to establish the colonial rule. Mahatma Gandhi in 1922 when prosecuted under IPC section 124–A termed it as the prince among the political sections of the IPC which is designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen.
The latest imposition of section 124A of IPC is the disgraceful attack on the basic fundamental right of citizens of Indian State i.e., Right to speech and reminds us of the absolute degeneracy of some of the laws of colonial rule. The latest act points out the government’s constant efforts at suppressing every form of disagreement with intense clarity.
Team Aspirant Forum