By: Prabhat Singh

(This publish is the second of a two-part sequence on the topic – ‘A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A’)


There are particular, often repeated, arguments that are made to help the case for the revocation of Half 124A. On this half, the author would analyze these infamous arguments, from the licensed and factual prism.

  • Construction would not Comprise ‘Sedition’ as a Low-cost Restriction on Free Speech.

Most ceaselessly it has been argued that given that time interval ‘sedition’ is omitted in Clause 2 of Article 19; subsequently there is not a justification for having ‘sedition’ as an offense in India. Briefly, the argument in direction of the provision is that its presence throughout the IPC is at loggerheads with the explicit intent of the Constituent Assembly to forged off it.

The above declare should be examined on the touchstone of associated debates that occurred about ‘Sedition’.

On the outset, it is associated to degree out that few members have been in direction of the considered ​​inserting any restrictions on freedom of speech and expression provided that this might negate the enforcement of freedom given throughout the Construction. As regards ‘sedition’ they submitted that the ‘sedition’ should not be positioned as a restriction for the time interval is ambiguous and has been interpreted broadly by courts of laws.

In response to the above apprehensions, Shri KM Munshi moved modification no. 86. That for modification No. 453 of the Guidelines of Amendments, the following be substituted:

“.. which undermines the protection of, or tends to overthrow, the State’.”

He extra submitted his explanations for citing the aforesaid modification. He states as follows: “… Sir, ..this modification seeks to delete the phrase ‘sedition’ and makes use of a considerably higher phrasing, viz., “which undermines the protection of, or tends to overthrow, the State.” The article is to remove the phrase ‘sedition’ which is of unsure and ranging import and to introduce phrases which in the intervening time are considered to be the gist of an offense in direction of the State.”

The above amendments as urged by Shri Munshi ultimately led throughout the language of Article 19(2) as a result of it stood on January 26, 1950. From the bare perusal of the above discussions it is aptly clear that the members weren’t in direction of the underlying thought of ‘Sedition’, nevertheless they really had reservations concerning the time interval ‘Sedition’, which, I imagine, was logical to have given the fully completely different shades of judicial interpretations the Half has gone by the use of.

On this regard the dissenting opinion in Brij Bhushan v. state, Justice Fazal Ali acknowledges the dilemma our constitutional framers would have been in, owing to the fully completely different magnitude of judicial interpretations. They weren’t sure in what sense ‘sedition’ must be used; subsequently they decided to utilize a additional frequent phrase that covers acts of sedition.

These observations of the apex court docket docket led the Parliament to amend clause 2 of article 19, whereby ‘public order’ was added as certainly one of many grounds for curtailment of free speech. It moreover added the phrases ‘low cost restriction’. Notably, this modification was given retrospective impression and has under no circumstances been challenged, regarding this side. It is, subsequently, established that our constitutional makers weren’t in direction of the underlying thought of ‘Sedition’. Due to this fact, the above declare would not preserve enough water.

  • The UK has repealed it; why shouldn’t it is Indian?

The alternative argument given in favor of repealing Half 124A is; that given that mother nation has repealed it, there is not a logic why India ought to carry this on the statute e-book. The response to this argument is twofold – firstsooner than we bounce on to the conclusion, it is perhaps associated to analyze the native circumstances of every India and the UK Importantly, the UK has repealed the laws on sedition solely after controlling the seditious tendencies (like these of Irish Republican Navy) whereas India continues to be struggling in just a few areas. It, subsequently, signifies that the circumstances allowed the UK to repeal the Sedition laws. That is really not the case in India as of however. The 267th report of the Laws Charge categorically mentions that the rise within the utilization of social media and the online led to a rise throughout the spreading of mal-information containing seditious/hate speeches. secondly, it is not sagacious to repeal a specific laws merely because of the mother nation has achieved away with it; if that is the case, we might should repeal/change quite a few authorized pointers and practices which have been borrowed from Britain. For my part, sooner than we draw any parity between India and the UK, we should additionally analyze the geo-political circumstances as successfully. A present analysis carried out by Microsoft reveals that Hate speech is among the many excessive risks for India’s on-line prospects. Apart from that, we’ve now components of separatists, every inside and with out India. It is, subsequently, submitted that the current socio-political circumstances in India and the UK are fully completely different; subsequently an identical yardsticks cannot be used to guage every nations. We should always weigh our native circumstances individually sooner than forming any opinion.

Basically probably the most infamous argument in favor of deleting half 124A is its misuse by political occasions and the federal authorities. It could be true, nevertheless they misuse the laws can under no circumstances be and can under no circumstances be accepted as a ground for troublesome the constitutional validity of that particular person laws. On account of if that is accepted as true, then it’d set a nasty precedence, which could open Pandora’s subject for litigation, troublesome vires of Acts on the underside of misuse of them. The misuse of a laws is a matter that lies on the diploma of officers and cannot be mannequin as a licensed concern as such.

There are info evaluations and the observations of the apex court docket docket which counsel that half 498A of IPC [Punishing Cruelty] has been misused fairly rather a lot by certain ladies, for whose security it was included throughout the first place. Should we abolish half 498A then? In Rajesh Sharma v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the apex court docket docket took judicial uncover of the misuse of half 498A and laid down certain tricks to stop its misuse. It did not repeal the laws. Equally, the apex court docket docket has framed suggestions and issued directions to stop the misuse of the flexibility of arrest by cops. In not one of many circumstances, did the court docket docket even contemplate repealing any of the provisions on the underside of misuse? Extra, in Mafatlal Lal Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, a nine-judge bench of the apex court docket docket observed that the them threat of abuse of a provision by these answerable for administering it could actually’t be a ground for holding a provision procedurally or substantively unreasonable. In a present judgment, whereas dismissing an issue to Half 18A of Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Supreme Courtroom docket observed that ‘presumption cannot be taken that provisions of the Act are misused by members of SC /ST as a class , just because a few are missing them.’ As a result of this truth, individually, misuse of laws cannot be a ground for its annulment. Reasonably, measures must be taken to forestall misuse.

The alternative argument in favor of eradicating Half 124A is that the jurisprudence regarding speech has developed throughout the nation, and half 124A would not cross the muster of that. Shreya Singhal is usually a sufficient touchstone to testify to the validity of the above declare. Throughout the case of Shreya Singhal, Half 66A of the Information and Experience Act, 2000, was declared unconstitutional because of it was in direct battle with the essential correct of freedom of speech and expression. The Supreme Courtroom docket held that beneath the Constitutional scheme, for democracy to thrive, the liberty of speech and expression is a cardinal value and of paramount significance. The court docket docket extra observed that three concepts are elementary in understanding the attain of this [freedom of speech and expression] most basic of human rights. The first is dialogue, the second is advocacy, and the third is incentive. Mere dialogue and even advocacy of a specific set off, howsoever unpopular is on the coronary coronary heart of Article 19(1) (a). It’s simply when such dialogue or advocacy reaches the extent of incitement that Article 19(2) kicks in. It is at this stage {{that a}} laws is also made curbing the speech or expression that leads inexorably to or tends to set off public dysfunction or tends to set off or tends to impact the sovereignty & integrity of India, the protection of the State, nice relations with abroad States, and so forth.

You will have to note proper right here that the court docket docket did perceive that freedom of speech exercised previous a limit that tends to incite dysfunction or are inclined to impact the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of State, and so forth., will be impermissible. Proper right here as soon as extra, the court docket docket acknowledged one of the best of the State for self-preservation in direction of undesirable divisive forces.

The perusal of judgment establishes a qualitative distinction between the equipment of Half 66A and Half 124A; subsequently, no parity must be drawn between half 66A and half 124A to hunt the letter’s annulment as every operate in a number of spheres.


The boundaries of free speech are to be judged on the anvils of what portions to low cost restrictions throughout the backdrop of Article 19 Clause 2. Throughout the Kedar Nath, the court docket docket concluded that the examine of reasonableness is glad if you limit the scope of software program of Half 124A to the state of affairs the place you made any assertion that portions to depth of violence. Half 124A is a self-contained provision because of it spells out what portions to sedition and what’s permitted in free speech. The restrictions contained in Half 124A in substance or impression are the an identical as contained in clause 2 of article 19. For my part, after receiving the judicial seal and interpretation of a construction bench of the apex court docket docket of the nation, it is not low cost to say that Half 124A is a colonial provision, because of what’s being utilized at current inside the kind of Half 124A, is principally the interpretation given by the court docket docket in 1962. Based on the aforementioned dialogue it could be inferred that the provisions of half 124A do not endure from any licensed affirmation.

The Means Forward

The above discussions make it abundantly clear that Half 124A would not endure from any licensed infirmity. The difficulty, individually, lies on the diploma of the supervisor ie police. One in all many attainable causes may probably be attributed to the overlap between fully completely different provisions related to offenses in direction of the State. In such a state of affairs a sure amount of information and understanding is required to conclude as to which suppliers should be invoked in a given factual matrix. Due to this fact, coaching and proper teaching of legislation enforcement officers are warranted. If we do not work on the precise disadvantage, the problem will keep the an identical, revocation would not help.

(Prabhat is a laws undergraduate from Tamil Nadu Nationwide Laws School, Trichy[2016-2021]. The author is also contacted via mail at [email protected])

Cite as: Prabhat Singh, ‘A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A(Half-2)’ (The RMLNLU Laws Overview Weblog24 July 2022) date of entry