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SC stays all pending proceedings in sedition cases till review

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre and state governments not to file any FIRs or initiate any proceedings under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with sedition.

Supreme Court stays all pending proceedings in sedition cases till review gcw
New Delhi, First Published May 11, 2022, 11:46 AM IST

In a historic order, the Supreme Court on Wednesday has put stay on all pending proceeding of sedition cases. The court has ordered the Centre and states not to register any cases under Section 124 A of IPC (Sedition) till Centre complete it process of reviewing the Sedition law. The Section 124 of the IPC addresses the penalties for sedition offences.

"We had a lengthy discussion. This order is being carried out. In light of the foregoing, the Union of India concurs with the Court's preliminary finding that the rigours of Section 124A are not in keeping with the contemporary societal environment," during the hearing in the sedition law case on Wednesday, the Chief Justice of India stated.

'We hope and believe that the Centre and the State would desist from filing any FIRs using Section 124A of the IPC," the CJI added. "The Attorney General also made reference to the sedition accusation brought in the Hanuman Chalisa case. It is best not to employ this legal protection until the re-examination is completed," NV Ramana added.

"Those charged may petition the court if new charges are brought. The Union of India is free to provide guidelines to states to prevent the misapplication of the law," the Chief Justice noted.

Also Read | Explained: India's controversial British-era sedition law

On Wednesday, the Centre informed the Supreme Court that charges under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) should be recorded only when the local Superintendent of Police is satisfied with filing the case and provides reasons in writing. The Supreme Court had questioned the Centre in July 2021 why it was not removing the colonial-era statute used by the British to silence Mahatma Gandhi.

"The British utilised this statute to silence Mahatma Gandhi. Do you believe this law is still needed?" N V Ramana, the Chief Justice of India, has inquired. The court has stated that their primary concern is the abuse of the sedition statute and the responsibility of authorities that utilise it.

Also Read | Defining who is a minority: Centre changes stand in Supreme Court

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