Can states avoid sedition cases until they makeover, asks SC | India News


NEW DELHI: A day after being informed that the government intended to review Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Center to respond by Wednesday morning whether it could ask states to not to impose sedition charges on anyone and to ensure that the rights of reserved persons are protected under the much abused provision until the exercise is completed.
Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, opposed the Center’s request for adjournment. CJI NV Ramana said, “We must not appear unreasonable. »
Agreeing to stop testing the constitutional validity of the sedition provision in Section 124A, a bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said it respected the Center’s adjournment request , but was required to strike a balance by protecting the rights of citizens.
“There are concerns. One concerns pending cases. The other is its misuse. The Attorney General (KK Venugopal) said the other day that singing “Hanuman Chalisa” resulted in a sedition case. How are we going to protect people in such a scenario? asked the bench.
The bench said: “We will respect the government’s request. At the same time, we have to balance the rights of people who are already arrested under the sedition provision and those who will be arrested in the future. That is, persons already arrested and those against whom the provision can be invoked. »
When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said he would accept instructions from the government, the bench said, “We will give time until tomorrow morning. Whatever instructions you receive from the government. If you want some time (for the 124A review) we will definitely consider and place an order.
To a pointed question from the bench as to the length of the review exercise, the SG said he couldn’t hazard a guess.
The bench in its order said: “In the meantime, (you take instructions) how to protect the interests of people who are already reserved under section 124A as well as whether the invocation (of section 124A) can be held in abeyance until (the government completes the exercise of) reviewing the provision. List the questions tomorrow for clarification from the government.
Leading a group of petitioners, senior counsel Kapil Sibal vehemently opposed the Center’s adjournment request to reconsider the sedition provision. “Just because the executive has expressed its intention to go through a legal process, which can take six months or a year, the court cannot be asked to wait.”
The CJI said: ‘When the government says it is reviewing, we shouldn’t be unreasonable. With regard to this request, we will decide how much time to devote to this exercise.
Asked by the court whether the Department of the Interior could issue a directive asking states not to invoke Section 124A until it is reviewed, the SG said FIRs are filed by state police. and that the Center has nothing to do with it. “Whenever there is an abuse or misuse of section 124A, the aggrieved person has the remedy of going to the constitutional courts,” he said. The CJI-led bench said: ‘We cannot ask every citizen reserved under Section 124A to go to the Constitutional Courts for redress.

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