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Title: Sedition law: slaying the dragon of free speech
Other Titles: Indian Journal of Law and Justice, Vol. 13 No. 02, September 2022, pp 88 - 113
Authors: S. M. Aamir Ali
Keywords: Constitution
Free Speech
Rule of Law
Issue Date: Sep-2022
Publisher: University of North Bengal
Abstract: Sedition law is perhaps the most controversial and highly debated piece of legislation that finds a place in the Indian statute book. Among swathes of colonial inherited law, particularly, sedition law stands in stark contrast with the fundamental tenets of the Indian Constitution. Arguments have been proffered by legal scholars and political scientists that the sedition law goes against the grain of India’s liberal constitutional order. Nevertheless, various governments at various points have used and are still using, the sedition law, as an instrument, for stifling the dissenting voices thereby settling political scores. Given the draconian nature and the disproportionate punishment, which this law invites, has been a major concern since independence. Moreover, the broad and vague words of Section 124A of Indian Penal Code, further give space for arbitrariness to creep in, thereby adding to the woes of the accused/dissenter. The broad theme of this paper is to examine the enabling role played by the judiciary in enriching and deepening the free speech jurisprudence when faced with cases of sedition. The author attempts to trace the genealogy of the sedition law, along with shedding light on the background in which it was enacted in colonial India. Secondly, a comparative analysis of the sedition law of India with that of UK and USA has been made. Then follows the response and modus operandi of the Supreme Court while deciding cases related to sedition. The concluding part of this paper makes a case, that when ‘Rule of Law’ is the guiding star in India, why the arbitrary sedition law still stands erect.
ISSN: 0976-3570
Appears in Collections:Vol.13 No. 02 (September 2022)

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