The Supreme Court of India heard Indian Government plea to defer a ruling on the Constitutional validity of Section 124A under the Indian Penal Code. The Union Government had asked time to review the Sedition law that came into being during the British colonial rule in India.
Here are the big takeaways from today’s hearing
-While several factors were discussed during this hearing, the apex court has asked the union government to file a reply within the next twenty four hours, on suggestion that filing of sedition cases be kept at abeyance till re-examination.
-The Supreme Court also asked the Centre to inform it about the pending cases under sedition law and how will the government take care of these cases. The case is listed for tomorrow, 11th May.
-Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also agreed to defer a ruling on the penal law from the colonial era and sought a response from the Centre on protection of interest of citizens till penal law on sedition is reconsidered.
-Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre, told the Supreme Court that it requires reconsideration of the Sedition Law at an executive level citing sovereignty and integrity of the nation. He formally sought the deferment of hearing of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of sedition law.
-Senior advocate Kapil Sibal opposed the plea saying that the exercise of the Court cannot be stopped because the legislature will take time to reconsider for six months or one year and in turn asked the Court to examine the constitutional validity of sedition law.
-The Supreme Court enquired the Union Government about the time it will require to reconsider the Sedition law to which Tushar Mehta replied that the reconsideration is under process. Supreme Court suggested the Centre to complete the task of reconsideration of sedition law in 3-4 months.
-Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said, “ The affidavit of the Centre says the Prime Minister has been cognizant of the issues relating to civil liberties and that he believes at the time of 75th year of independence, nation wants to shed colonial baggage including outdated colonial laws.”
-Supreme Court also informed the Centre that there are concerns that sedition law being misused and Attorney General himself had said chanting Hanuman Chalisa is leading to such cases. The Court added,” in the affidavit itself it is said that misuse of law is there, how will you address this?”
-SC asked the Centre why it doesn’t direct the State governments that matter under 124A be kept in abeyance till the Centre finishes the process of reconsideration.
-SC asked Centre, “Who is dealing with sedition law at ground level? police officers, local police stations etc. Why cannot you direct them to keep the proceedings in abeyance till your re-examination process of the law is over.”