- The Supreme Court on Monday asked the government not to register any fresh FIRs under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises sedition, even as the government said it is re-examining the colonial provision and “something may happen” in the Winter Session of Parliament.
- Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) U.U. Lalit, Attorney-General R. Venkataramani said no “transgressions” were brought to the Centre’s notice since the Supreme Court had ordered a complete freeze of arrests and prosecution under Section 124A in an interim order in May.
- “There is thinking on the subject and some change may happen before the Winter Session of Parliament. There is no reason to worry now with the interim order in place,” Mr. Venkataramaniassured..
- “When is the Winter Session starting?” Chief Justice Lalit asked Mr. Venkataramani. The top law officer said by January.
- The court listed the case for the second week of January. During the hearing, advocate Kaleeswaram Raj said the order had only kept Section 124A in abeyance, the provision needed to be struck down immediately rather than let it occupy space in the statute book indefinitely.
- But the Bench said the government would have to abide by the interim order of May which suspended the sedition provision until further orders.
- The court through its order in May had deftly protected civil liberties from local police and civil authorities who may continue to use Section 124A regardless of the Union’s “re-examination process”. The court had orally observed, before the order was passed, that guidelines hardly work at the “ground level” with local police officers and civil authorities.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB