A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A (Half-1) – The RMLNLU Regulation Overview Weblog

By: Prabhat Singh

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


The Supreme Courtroom of India has mounted a date for conducting final hearings throughout the points troublesome the constitutional validity of Half 124A of the Indian Penal Code (herein after generally known as “IPC”). The deliberations qua utility of getting Half 124A on the statute e-book are as earlier as a result of the provisions themselves. privatea present assertion by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India –

The utilization of sedition is like giving a observed to the carpenter to cut a little bit of wood and he makes use of it to cut all of the forest itself” has as quickly as as soon as extra catalyzed the controversy.

There are two schools of thought, significantly, the one which prays for annulment of the acknowledged Half on the underside that it has outlived its utility, and would not transfer the muster of regulation given ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression,’ as assured throughout the Construction. Per contra, one different Faculty argues that there is not a correct in an absolute sense, every correct is matter to certain low-cost restrictions and freedom of speech isn’t any exception to it. The fulcrum of the matter lies within the fact that Half 124A which is ‘Sedition’ is at loggerheads with Article 19[1][a] of the Construction, which ensures freedom of speech and expression. Notablyin Kedar Nath Singh, a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Courtroom had declared Half 124A intraviral.


The Indian Penal Code, 1860 obtained enforced in 1860, nonetheless half 124A did not make it into the IPC until 1870 (although a chunk similar to it was present in Thomas Macaulay’s Draft Penal Code in 1835). It was launched in ten years after the IPC was launched[1]presumably, to counter the surge Wahhabis riot throughout the subcontinent. At the moment, it was a regulation in opposition to “Thrilling Disaffection.” It is, nonetheless, to be well-known that half 124A has been modified significantly by way of an modification to Act 4 of 1898 to incorporate judicial interpretations developed until then.

The Sedition as acknowledged proper now developed solely within the path of the tip of the sixteenth century and the secondary or additional fashionable which implies of the phrase ‘sedition’ began to the emerge-the notion of inciting by phrases or writings disaffection from that century ahead.


By this modification, the phrase ‘sedition’ was launched for the very first time throughout the marginal heading, not throughout the content material materials of the provisions. This express modification was the tip results of assorted judgments delivered from 1870 to 1898. This modification was twofold – firstapart from thrilling disaffection ‘feeling of hatred or contempt’ was inserted and disaffection was made to include ‘disloyalty’ as correctly. secondthe one rationalization is reduce up into three explanations to stipulate the scope of permissible ‘disapprobation’ of a political/legislative measure.

Disapprobation was allowed, whether or not it’s made to accumulate alteration by lawful means in any of the measures of the federal authorities with out thrilling or making an attempt to excite disaffection, hatred, or contempt within the path of the federal authorities of the day. Extra, if any comment was made expressing disapproval in opposition to any administrative movement of the federal authorities with out thrilling or making an attempt to excite disaffection, hatred, or contempt that won’t be penalized.[2] Thereafter, few amendments have been made, nonetheless none was to tinker with the character and scope of the provisions, subsequently is of no relevance for the current features.


On this half landmark cases of the pre-constitution interval have been talked about. There are a variety of cases regarding Half 124A, nonetheless for the wants of current dialogue, the subsequent cases will be enough to convey the supposed thought:

Queen Empress v. Jogendra Chander Bose[3]popularly generally called the Bangobasi case was the first case in India regarding Half 124A. The accused was charged with sedition for criticizing the Age of Consent Bill and the unfavorable monetary impression of British colonialism. Whereas directing the jury on the case, the Courtroom distinguished sedition as was understood under the Regulation of England for the time being, from half 124A IPC. It was observed that the offense stipulated under Half 124A IPC was milder, as in England any overt act in consequence of a tragic feeling was penalized, nonetheless, in India solely these acts which have been achieved to face up to by energy or an try to excite resistance by energy’ fell under this half.

Queen-Empress v. Bal Gangadhar Tilak[4] – Mr. Justice Strachery held that to attract Half 124A, there is not a need for the dysfunction to consequence. It is sufficient that you’ve acknowledged one factor in opposition to the federal authorities of the day and subsequently excited disaffection. The scope of half 124A obtained expanded by equating “disaffection” to “disloyalty.” The Courtroom interpreted the time interval “feelings of disaffection” meant hatred, enmity, dislike, hostility, contempt, and every kind of ailing will within the path of the federal authorities.

Niharendu Dutt Majumdar v. King Emperor[5]The interpretation given in Tilak’s case was the regulation until the selection of this case when Chief Justice Gwyer adopted a form of liberal technique, Justice mentioned as follows – We’ve got to be taught sedition in its English backdrop. He further acknowledged that on the coronary coronary heart of sedition in England is that the sort of issue ought to ultimately lead not solely to disaffection from the federal authorities however moreover the ‘public dysfunction’. Offered that it moreover leads to public dysfunction one explicit individual might be booked under the sedition.

The above interpretation given by the Federal Courtroom was overruled by the Privy Council in Sadashiva Narayan Bhalerao[6]. It was recognized that the time interval ‘sedition’ was not utilized partially 124A the least bit. It was solely the marginal remember which contained it and it is correctly settled in regulation {{that a}} marginal remember can’t administration the plain language of the half. The plain language of the half nowhere says ‘public order’ and ‘violence’. As a result of this reality they ‘disaffection in direction of the federal authorities of the day was okay.


After the enactment of the Construction, Half 124A acquired right here to downside many Extreme Courts. The Punjab Extreme Courtroom in Tara Singh Gopi Chand v. The State declared half 124A IPC unconstitutional as a result of it contravenes the acceptable of freedom of speech and expression assured under Article 19(1) (a) of the Construction. There have been different conflicting judgments among the many many Extreme Courts.

The constitutional validity of half 124A IPC acquired right here to be challenged throughout the case of Kedar Nath Singh v. the State of Bihar. The Construction Bench upheld the validity of half 124A and saved it on a definite pedestal. The Courtroom drew a line between the phrases, ‘the Authorities established by regulation’ and ‘the people within the interim engaged in carrying on the administration’. The courtroom after considering an entire gamut of authorized pointers and judgments, ultimately, acknowledged if we be taught a particular provision in a particular technique as a result of the Federal Courtroom be taught it, significantly, so long as the disaffection to the federal authorities is accompanied by an tried intention to violence or to create public dysfunction, it could possibly be attracted. On this judgment, the courtroom acknowledges the acceptable of self-preservation of ‘State’, by making a distinction between the Authorities and the State. So, by suggesting revocation we primarily suggest denying the acceptable of self-preservation to the State or India.

The Kedar Nath case has restricted the scope and utility of Half 124A solely to such act or attempt which has bearing on public order or enough to set off violence. Which implies that the requirement of proof to find out crime under Half 124A is elevated. Analysis of later cases reveals that whereas following Kedar Nathcourts have been very express in convicting the accused under Half 124A.

The scope of the distinctive provision in 1870 was restricted to penalizing solely ‘thrilling disaffection.’ The provision was given a definite texture and coloration by the 1898 modification. The Supreme Courtroom has lastly mounted the contours of the provisions holding given freedom of speech and expression under the Construction. Half – II shall analyze different claims / arguments, made in favor of revocation of the provisions.

[1] The Indian Penal Code (Modification) Act, 1870 (Act 27 of 1870).

[2] Indian Penal Code (Modification) Act, 1898.

[3] AIR 1947 PC 82.

[4] (1897) ILR 22.

[5] AIR 19422 FC 22.

[6] AIR 1947 PC 82.

(Prabhat is a regulation undergraduate from Tamil Nadu Nationwide Regulation Faculty, Trichy[2016-2021]. The creator is also contacted by mail at [email protected])

Cite as: Prabhat Singh, ‘A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A(Half-1)’ (The RMLNLU Regulation Overview Weblog24 July 2022) date of entry

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