Report Wire - Sedition legislation: Guidelines should be put in place to keep away from misuse, says authorized fraternity in Kerala

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Sedition legislation: Guidelines should be put in place to keep away from misuse, says authorized fraternity in Kerala

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Sedition law: Guidelines must be put in place to avoid misuse, says legal fraternity in Kerala

Express News Service

KOCHI: With the Supreme Court placing on maintain part 124A of the Indian Penal Code, the authorized fraternity in Kerala has urged the federal government to withdraw all prosecutions beneath the sedition legislation. The apex courtroom on Wednesday placed on maintain the colonial-era legislation and directed the federal government to not file new FIRs until it was re-examined.

Welcoming the Supreme Court verdict to maintain in abeyance the sedition legislation until the Union authorities reconsiders the availability, Justice B Kemal Pasha, retired choose of the Kerala High Court, steered that there must be a set of tips to be adopted earlier than invoking the sedition legislation. “I am not saying that sedition as such should be removed from the Indian Penal Code. But misuse of this has to be stopped for which sufficient guidelines have to be prescribed,” he mentioned.

“The paramount right of a citizen in a democracy is to criticise the government. Only then can democracy proceed on the correct lines. If a citizen is not given the right to criticise the government, then it cannot be a democracy at all. It will be an autocracy. In the case of autocracy, a person has no right to criticise the government. The provision regarding sedition is now widely being misused to suppress those raising their voice against the government. If a person criticises the Prime Minister, it will be presently treated as sedition. Similarly, if a person is criticising the Chief Minister of a state, it will also be categorised as an offence under sedition,” he mentioned.

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“Innocent persons who are raising voices against the misdeeds of the government are now being put behind bars under this provision. The sedition provision is being widely misused now. Therefore it is high time to end such activities. Similar provisions are there of course in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) also. That also is a draconian law which is being misused widely,” he added.

Citing the COFEPOSA Act, which gives for preventive detention in sure circumstances for the needs of conservation and augmentation of international trade and prevention of smuggling actions, he mentioned that it can’t be misused, as a result of there’s a COFEPOSA board and adequate tips to evaluate the circumstances beneath the Act. But right here, when an individual is put behind bars beneath the sedition offence, there are not any tips or measures to evaluate whether or not the citizen has dedicated the sedition offence or not, mentioned Justice B Kemal Pasha.

Former Director General of Prosecution Kerala T Asaf Ali termed the SC order extremely commendable. He mentioned, “It is in effect a slap on the face of the Narendra Modi government, which invoked this colonial penal law indiscriminately against political opponents to silence all kinds of dissent. It is really a shame that the Union government adopted dilatory tactics in the Supreme Court to get the case deferred with a view to avert an adverse order in the matter.”  

He mentioned that the circumstances wherein this colonial legislation was enacted had been completely totally different. “It was mainly intended to silence national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak who made scathing attacks against British inaction while taking preventive measures in combating the spread of plague in Mumbai and other parts of the country during the British regime. Gandhiji was convicted when produced before a magistrate under the charge of sedition. When Gandhiji was arrested under 124 A, he said it was his duty to criticise the erring British government. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was convicted and sentenced after publishing an article in his magazine,” he mentioned.

“This colonial law is outdated in view of the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 (a) of the Constitution of India. In view of the order of the Supreme Court, I urge the Centre and state governments to withdraw all prosecutions charged under section 124 A of IPA by invoking prerogative power under section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” added Asaf Ali.

Advocate Raghul Sudheesh of the High Court of Kerala mentioned that is certainly a historic order. “This has been long overdue and it’s welcome that the apex court of the nation has intervened at least now. This colonial provision has been grossly misused by all the governments to suppress voices of dissent. This provision has absolutely no place in a democracy like ours. I sincerely hope that the present government will take a stand to take down this law. Even the UK government has abolished this and there is no reason we should shy away from doing it,” he mentioned.

According to Raghul Sudheesh, the current order will certainly assist those that are already charged beneath this draconian legislation to acquire bail. Further no new FIRs might be filed beneath this provision. Effectively the Supreme Court has paused the working of the sedition legislation utterly until the federal government takes a name on the problem. There are greater than 13000 individuals already jailed beneath this provision in over 800 circumstances and this exhibits most likely the extent to which the availability has been misused and had labored in favour of gagging voices of dissent, he added.