sedition law


Criminal Law Indian Penal Code LAW EXPLAINED
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Article 19 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution describes the freedom of speech and express their views. However, this freedom is absolute and some reasonable restrictions have been imposed on freedom of speech and speech under Article 19(2). But, when a person does an act by his words, signs or representation which tends to be insolent with regard to the Government of India, then such an act is punishable under Section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Sedition is a felony that criminalizes speech that is regarded to be disloyal to or threatening to the state. The proviso of Section 124 A of IPC, 1860, is extensive and it wraps the act of defamation of the Government precluding any criticism in good faith of any particular measures or acts of administration.


The word ‘Sedition’ stands for “conduct or speech which upshots in mutiny against the authority of the state.” Sedition Law mentioned in 124 A of IPC, 1860 is contemplated as acceptable limitations on freedom of speech. It was drafted by Thomas Macaulay and introduced in 1870.


  • Beginning of the law of sedition in India is linked to the 19th Century, Wahabis Movement.
  • This was an Islamic revivalist motion, assisted by Syed Ahmed Barelvi.
  • In 1830, the movement was mobile but, the rise of 1857 rebellion; it converted into armed resistance, a Jihad against the British.
  • The British named Wahabis as insurgents and carried out military operations in opposition to Wahabis.


“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 of India shall be punishable with Life Imprisonment.”

Explanation I to the provision explains the extent of discontent and Explanation II and III specifies what under the English Law is not regarded as seditious intention.


The Law of Sedition which is being and ongoing debate. Initially, the law was created by the colonial rulers to suppress the Indians, but according to Section 124 A, it is acknowledged that it is obliging in fighting the terrorist and Anti – social activities. But the implementation of this rule in the current environment is in contrast to the above statement.

Rather than being beneficial in combating the Anti – Social component, this law is used as a tool to repress the voices of the common citizens of the land, which makes it transparent that the issue is not with the provision but with the exercising of the same. Applying this ‘Sedition Law as a tool’ should be finished, which can be done either by terminating the law itself or by decreasing it.

If this proviso is abolished, then how can the anti-social components are managed? How the Maoists are too liberated? These are the issues that would come to light instantly. Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 has provisions that punishes disturbing the public tranquility and discipline or conquering the Government with ferocity and illegal means. Computing to it, The National Honour Act, 1971, this in turn has provisions for offending National Flag or the Constitution of India. These laws are enough to preserve the honour of the Country, directing the Anti – social elements and the public order.

The law is being exploited as a device to oppress the political disagreement. The embezzle of this sedition principle by striking charges over the usual people who Question the Government or Condemn the Government should be finished as questioning and condemning are the fundamental rights of the citizens in the country cherished  under Article 19 (1)(a).[1]

Sedition charges cannot be cracked for condemning or questioning the Government, rendered by the Apex Court of India.

The bench of Justice Deepak Misra and UU Lalit, stated that the Supreme Court had resolvedthe contention on sedition in the past, in the case of Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar[2] and had hitherto elucidate on what situations the Penal provision could be utilized.

The court had simplified in its 1962 Judgment that: a citizen has a right to say or write whatsoever he likes about the Government, or its measures, by method of reproval or comment, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the government instituted by law or with the aim of creating public disorder. In the case of Romesh Thappar v. The State of Madras[3], the Apex Court endorsed that the people are incredible and the state powers are the servants of the people in republic.

And this maltreatment of the Law and arbitrary slapping of charges are conflicting with India’s International Commitment to the confirmation of ICCPR[4], which enables the preservation of Speech and Expression.


In a nation which is rule by the “Natural Justice Principle” and Democracy, the misapply of the law of sedition will endure as a black mark. “Criticism heightens Democracy.” Therefore, Government should greet condemnation with open mind. A very essential facet of democracy is that the residents should have no agitation of the government.

They should not be frightened of communicating the opinions which may not like by those in power. Undoubtedly, the views must be communicated in an advanced manner without encouraging any violence, but bare utterance of such views cannot be a crime and should not be held against residents. The universe would be a best site to reside if people could express their views bravely without being agitated of prosecution or trolling on social media.

[1] The Constitution of India.

[2] 1962 AIR 955, 1962 SCR Supl. (2) 769

[3] 1950 AIR 124, 1950 SCR 594

[4] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

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