A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A (Half-2) – The RMLNLU Legislation Assessment Weblog

By: Prabhat Singh

(This submit is the second of a two-part collection on the subject – ‘A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A’)


There are particular, typically repeated, arguments which can be made to assist the case for the revocation of Part 124A. On this half, the creator would analyze these notorious arguments, from the authorized and factual prism.

  • Structure doesn’t Comprise ‘Sedition’ as a Affordable Restriction on Free Speech.

Most frequently it has been argued that because the time period ‘sedition’ is omitted in Clause 2 of Article 19; therefore there isn’t any justification for having ‘sedition’ as an offense in India. In brief, the argument towards the availability is that its presence within the IPC is at loggerheads with the specific intent of the Constituent Meeting to put off it.

The above declare must be examined on the touchstone of related debates that happened about ‘Sedition’.

On the outset, it’s related to level out that few members had been towards the thought of ​​inserting any restrictions on freedom of speech and expression given that this could negate the enforcement of freedom given within the Structure. As regards ‘sedition’ they submitted that the ‘sedition’ shouldn’t be positioned as a restriction for the time period is ambiguous and has been interpreted broadly by courts of legislation.

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

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

He additional submitted his explanations for mentioning the aforesaid modification. He states as follows: “… Sir, ..this modification seeks to delete the phrase ‘sedition’ and makes use of a significantly better phrasing, viz., “which undermines the safety of, or tends to overthrow, the State.” The thing is to take away the phrase ‘sedition’ which is of uncertain and ranging import and to introduce phrases which are actually thought-about to be the gist of an offense towards the State.”

The above amendments as steered by Shri Munshi in the end led within the language of Article 19(2) because it stood on January 26, 1950. From the naked perusal of the above discussions it’s aptly clear that the members weren’t towards the underlying idea of ‘Sedition’, however they actually had reservations regarding the time period ‘Sedition’, which, I believe, was logical to have given the totally different shades of judicial interpretations the Part has gone by way 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 totally different magnitude of judicial interpretations. They weren’t certain in what sense ‘sedition’ must be used; therefore they determined to make use of a extra basic phrase that covers acts of sedition.

These observations of the apex court docket led the Parliament to amend clause 2 of article 19, whereby ‘public order’ was added as one of many grounds for curtailment of free speech. It additionally added the phrases ‘affordable restriction’. Notably, this modification was given retrospective impact and has by no means been challenged, concerning this facet. It’s, due to this fact, established that our constitutional makers weren’t towards the underlying idea of ‘Sedition’. Therefore, the above declare doesn’t maintain sufficient water.

  • The UK has repealed it; why should not it’s Indian?

The opposite argument given in favor of repealing Part 124A is; that because the mom nation has repealed it, there isn’t any logic why India ought to preserve this on the statute guide. The response to this argument is twofold – firstearlier than we leap on to the conclusion, it could be related to research the native circumstances of each India and the UK Importantly, the UK has repealed the legislation on sedition solely after controlling the seditious tendencies (like these of Irish Republican Military) whereas India continues to be struggling in a few areas. It, due to this fact, means that the circumstances allowed the UK to repeal the Sedition legislation. That’s actually not the case in India as of but. The 267th report of the Legislation Fee categorically mentions that the rise in using social media and the web led to an increase within the spreading of mal-information containing seditious/hate speeches. secondly, it isn’t sagacious to repeal a specific legislation merely as a result of the mom nation has carried out away with it; if that’s the case, we’d must repeal/change loads of legal guidelines and practices which have been borrowed from Britain. For my part, earlier than we draw any parity between India and the UK, we must also analyze the geo-political circumstances as properly. A current research carried out by Microsoft reveals that Hate speech is without doubt one of the prime dangers for India’s on-line customers. Aside from that, we now have parts of separatists, each inside and with out India. It’s, due to this fact, submitted that the present socio-political conditions in India and the UK are totally different; due to this fact similar yardsticks can’t be used to guage each international locations. We should weigh our native circumstances individually earlier than forming any opinion.

Probably the most notorious argument in favor of deleting part 124A is its misuse by political events and the federal government. It may be true, however they misuse the legislation can by no means be and may by no means be accepted as a floor for difficult the constitutional validity of that exact legislation. As a result of if that’s accepted as true, then it could set a nasty priority, which might open Pandora’s field for litigation, difficult vires of Acts on the bottom of misuse of them. The misuse of a legislation is an issue that lies on the degree of officers and can’t be model as a authorized situation as such.

There are information stories and the observations of the apex court docket which recommend that part 498A of IPC [Punishing Cruelty] has been misused quite a bit by sure ladies, for whose safety it was integrated within the first place. Ought to we abolish part 498A then? In Rajesh Sharma v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the apex court docket took judicial discover of the misuse of part 498A and laid down sure pointers to cease its misuse. It didn’t repeal the legislation. Equally, the apex court docket has framed pointers and issued instructions to cease the misuse of the ability of arrest by police officers. In not one of the circumstances, did the court docket even consider repealing any of the provisions on the bottom of misuse? Additional, in Mafatlal Lal Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, a nine-judge bench of the apex court docket noticed that the them risk of abuse of a provision by these in control of administering it can’t be a floor for holding a provision procedurally or substantively unreasonable. In a current judgment, whereas dismissing a problem to Part 18A of Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Supreme Courtroom noticed that ‘presumption can’t be taken that provisions of the Act are misused by members of SC /ST as a category , simply because a number of are lacking them.’ Subsequently, for my part, misuse of legislation can’t be a floor for its annulment. Moderately, measures must be taken to forestall misuse.

The opposite argument in favor of eradicating Part 124A is that the jurisprudence concerning speech has advanced within the nation, and part 124A doesn’t move the muster of that. Shreya Singhal can be a ample touchstone to testify to the validity of the above declare. Within the case of Shreya Singhal, Part 66A of the Info and Expertise Act, 2000, was declared unconstitutional as a result of it was in direct battle with the basic proper of freedom of speech and expression. The Supreme Courtroom held that underneath the Constitutional scheme, for democracy to thrive, the freedom of speech and expression is a cardinal worth and of paramount significance. The court docket additional noticed that three ideas are elementary in understanding the attain of this [freedom of speech and expression] most simple of human rights. The primary is dialogue, the second is advocacy, and the third is incentive. Mere dialogue and even advocacy of a specific trigger, howsoever unpopular is on the coronary heart of Article 19(1) (a). It’s only when such dialogue or advocacy reaches the extent of incitement that Article 19(2) kicks in. It’s at this stage {that a} legislation could also be made curbing the speech or expression that leads inexorably to or tends to trigger public dysfunction or tends to trigger or tends to have an effect on the sovereignty & integrity of India, the safety of the State, pleasant relations with international States, and so on.

It is very important be aware right here that the court docket did notice that freedom of speech exercised past a restrict that tends to incite dysfunction or are inclined to have an effect on the sovereignty and integrity of India, safety of State, and so on., can be impermissible. Right here once more, the court docket acknowledged the best of the State for self-preservation towards undesirable divisive forces.

The perusal of judgment establishes a qualitative distinction between the applying of Part 66A and Part 124A; therefore, no parity must be drawn between part 66A and part 124A to hunt the letter’s annulment as each function in numerous spheres.


The bounds of free speech are to be judged on the anvils of what quantities to affordable restrictions within the backdrop of Article 19 Clause 2. Within the Kedar Nath, the court docket concluded that the take a look at of reasonableness is glad when you restrict the scope of utility of Part 124A to the state of affairs the place you made any assertion that quantities to depth of violence. Part 124A is a self-contained provision as a result of it spells out what quantities to sedition and what’s permitted in free speech. The restrictions contained in Part 124A in substance or impact are the identical as contained in clause 2 of article 19. For my part, after receiving the judicial seal and interpretation of a structure bench of the apex court docket of the nation, it isn’t affordable to say that Part 124A is a colonial provision, as a result of what’s being utilized at the moment within the type of Part 124A, is actually the interpretation given by the court docket in 1962. Based mostly on the aforementioned dialogue it may be inferred that the provisions of part 124A don’t endure from any authorized affirmation.

The Method Ahead

The above discussions make it abundantly clear that Part 124A doesn’t endure from any authorized infirmity. The issue, for my part, lies on the degree of the manager ie police. One of many attainable causes may very well be attributed to the overlap between totally different provisions associated to offenses towards the State. In such a state of affairs a specific amount of knowledge and understanding is required to conclude as to which suppliers have to be invoked in a given factual matrix. Therefore, schooling and correct coaching of law enforcement officials are warranted. If we don’t work on the actual downside, the issue will stay the identical, revocation wouldn’t assist.

(Prabhat is a legislation undergraduate from Tamil Nadu Nationwide Legislation College, Trichy[2016-2021]. The creator could also be contacted through mail at [email protected])

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

Leave a Comment