The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Centre 24 hours to inform the court whether it will issue instructions to all states and Union territories to keep sedition cases in abeyance till the government’s proposed exercise of reviewing Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was completed. The Centre will come back with a reply on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the apex court agreed to the Centre’s proposal to defer hearing till it re-examined the sedition law.
Earlier, the court asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, how long it would take for reconsidering the sedition law and how would the government address its misuse.
A day ago, the government said it was re-examining the British-era legislation and urged the court from to not proceed with hearing petitions before it on the matter.
When Mehta said that reconsideration was underway, the apex court said there were concerns that the sedition law was being misused.
The top court suggested that the Centre may complete the task of reconsideration in three-four months and direct state governments that matters under 124A of the IPC be kept in abeyance till then.
The court added the attorney general himself had said chanting the Hanuman Chalisa was leading to such cases. “In the affidavit itself it is said that misuse of law is there, how will you address this?” the court said.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal said the exercise of this court cannot be stopped merely because the legislature would take time to reconsider for six months or one year as he urged the SC to examine the constitutional validity of the sedition law.
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