A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A (Half-2) – The RMLNLU Regulation Evaluation Weblog
28, Dec 2023
A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A (Half-2) – The RMLNLU Regulation Evaluation Weblog

By: Prabhat Singh

(This publish is the second of a two-part assortment on the topic – ‘A CASE IN SUPPORT OF RETAINING SECTION 124A’)


There are particular, sometimes repeated, arguments which could be made to help the case for the revocation of Half 124A. On this half, the author would analyze these infamous arguments, from the approved and factual prism.

  • Construction does not Comprise ‘Sedition’ as a Inexpensive Restriction on Free Speech.

Most often it has been argued that as a result of the time interval ‘sedition’ is omitted in Clause 2 of Article 19; due to this fact there is not a justification for having ‘sedition’ as an offense in India. Briefly, the argument in opposition to the supply is that its presence throughout the IPC is at loggerheads with the particular intent of the Constituent Assembly to solid off it.

The above declare have to be examined on the touchstone of associated debates that occurred about ‘Sedition’.

On the outset, it is associated to degree out that few members had been in opposition to the considered ​​inserting any restrictions on freedom of speech and expression provided that this might negate the enforcement of freedom given throughout the Construction. As regards ‘sedition’ they submitted that the ‘sedition’ should not be positioned as a restriction for the time interval is ambiguous and has been interpreted broadly by courts of regulation.

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

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

He extra submitted his explanations for citing the aforesaid modification. He states as follows: “… Sir, ..this modification seeks to delete the phrase ‘sedition’ and makes use of a considerably higher phrasing, viz., “which undermines the security of, or tends to overthrow, the State.” The merchandise is to remove the phrase ‘sedition’ which is of unsure and ranging import and to introduce phrases which for the time being are considered to be the gist of an offense in opposition to the State.”

The above amendments as steered by Shri Munshi ultimately, throughout the language of Article 19(2) as a result of it stood on January 26, 1950. From the bare perusal of the above discussions it is aptly clear that the members weren’t in opposition to the underlying concept of ‘Sedition’, nonetheless they really had reservations regarding the time interval ‘Sedition’, which, I imagine, was logical to have given the completely totally different shades of judicial interpretations the Half has passed by.

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 completely totally different magnitude of judicial interpretations. They weren’t optimistic in what sense ‘sedition’ have to be used; due to this fact they decided to utilize a additional widespread phrase that covers acts of sedition.

These observations of the apex court docket docket led the Parliament to amend clause 2 of article 19, whereby ‘public order’ was added as certainly one of many grounds for curtailment of free speech. It moreover added the phrases ‘low cost restriction’. Notably, this modification was given retrospective influence and has on no account been challenged, regarding this side. It is, subsequently, established that our constitutional makers weren’t in opposition to the underlying concept of ‘Sedition’. Subsequently, the above declare does not preserve enough water.

  • The UK has repealed it; why shouldn’t or not it is Indian?

The other argument given in favor of repealing Half 124A is; that as a result of the mother nation has repealed it, there is not a logic why India should protect this on the statute e ebook. The response to this argument is twofold – firstsooner than we bounce on to the conclusion, it may be associated to research the native circumstances of every India and the UK Importantly, the UK has repealed the regulation on sedition solely after controlling the seditious tendencies (like these of Irish Republican Navy) whereas India continues to be struggling in just a few areas. It, subsequently, signifies that the circumstances allowed the UK to repeal the Sedition regulation. That is really not the case in India as of however. The 267th report of the Regulation Price categorically mentions that the rise in utilizing social media and the online led to a rise throughout the spreading of mal-information containing seditious/hate speeches. secondly, it isn’t sagacious to repeal a particular regulation merely on account of the mother nation has executed away with it; if that is the case, we would should repeal/change numerous authorized tips and practices which had been borrowed from Britain. In my opinion, sooner than we draw any parity between India and the UK, we additionally wants to research the geo-political circumstances as properly. A present study carried out by Microsoft reveals that Hate speech is probably going one of many prime risks for India’s on-line prospects. Aside from that, we now have components of separatists, every inside and with out India. It is, subsequently, submitted that the current socio-political situations in India and the UK are completely totally different; subsequently similar yardsticks cannot be used to evaluate every worldwide areas. We should always weigh our native circumstances individually sooner than forming any opinion.

Primarily probably the most infamous argument in favor of deleting half 124A is its misuse by political occasions and the federal authorities. It’s more likely to be true, nonetheless they misuse the regulation can on no account be and can on no account be accepted as a flooring for troublesome the constitutional validity of that precise regulation. On account of if that is accepted as true, then it would set a foul precedence, which could open Pandora’s area for litigation, troublesome vires of Acts on the underside of misuse of them. The misuse of a regulation is a matter that lies on the stage of officers and cannot be mannequin as a approved problem as such.

There are data tales and the observations of the apex court docket docket which counsel that half 498A of IPC [Punishing Cruelty] has been misused a lot by positive women, for whose security it was built-in throughout the first place. Must we abolish half 498A then? In Rajesh Sharma v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the apex court docket docket took judicial uncover of the misuse of half 498A and laid down positive tricks to stop its misuse. It did not repeal the regulation. Equally, the apex court docket docket has framed suggestions and issued directions to stop the misuse of the flexibility of arrest by cops. In not one of many circumstances, did the court docket docket even think about repealing any of the provisions on the underside of misuse? Extra, in Mafatlal Lal Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, a nine-judge bench of the apex court docket docket seen that the them threat of abuse of a provision by these answerable for administering it will possibly’t be a flooring for holding a provision procedurally or substantively unreasonable. In a present judgment, whereas dismissing an issue to Half 18A of Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Supreme Court docket docket seen that ‘presumption cannot be taken that provisions of the Act are misused by members of SC /ST as a class , just because only a few are missing them.’ As a consequence of this truth, personally, misuse of regulation cannot be a flooring for its annulment. Moderately, measures have to be taken to cease misuse.

The other argument in favor of eradicating Half 124A is that the jurisprudence regarding speech has superior throughout the nation, and half 124A does not transfer the muster of that. Shreya Singhal could possibly be a sufficient touchstone to testify to the validity of the above declare. Throughout the case of Shreya Singhal, Half 66A of the Knowledge and Know-how Act, 2000, was declared unconstitutional on account of it was in direct battle with the essential correct of freedom of speech and expression. The Supreme Court docket docket held that under the Constitutional scheme, for democracy to thrive, the liberty of speech and expression is a cardinal value and of paramount significance. The court docket docket extra seen that three concepts are elementary in understanding the attain of this [freedom of speech and expression] simplest of human rights. The first is dialogue, the second is advocacy, and the third is incentive. Mere dialogue and even advocacy of a particular set off, howsoever unpopular is on the coronary coronary heart of Article 19(1) (a). It’s simply when such dialogue or advocacy reaches the extent of incitement that Article 19(2) kicks in. It is at this stage {{that a}} regulation is also made curbing the speech or expression that leads inexorably to or tends to set off public dysfunction or tends to set off or tends to impact the sovereignty & integrity of India, the security of the State, nice relations with abroad States, and so forth.

You have to to phrase proper right here that the court docket docket did discover that freedom of speech exercised previous a prohibit that tends to incite dysfunction or are more likely to impact the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of State, and so forth., could possibly be impermissible. Proper right here as soon as extra, the court docket docket acknowledged the proper of the State for self-preservation in opposition to undesirable divisive forces.

The perusal of judgment establishes a qualitative distinction between the making use of of Half 66A and Half 124A; due to this fact, no parity have to be drawn between half 66A and half 124A to hunt the letter’s annulment as every perform in a number of spheres.


The bounds of free speech are to be judged on the anvils of what portions to low cost restrictions throughout the backdrop of Article 19 Clause 2. Throughout the Kedar Nath, the court docket docket concluded that the verify of reasonableness is glad must you prohibit the scope of utility of Half 124A to the state of affairs the place you made any assertion that portions to depth of violence. Half 124A is a self-contained provision on account of it spells out what portions to sedition and what’s permitted in free speech. The restrictions contained in Half 124A in substance or influence are the similar as contained in clause 2 of article 19. In my opinion, after receiving the judicial seal and interpretation of a construction bench of the apex court docket docket of the nation, it isn’t low cost to say that Half 124A is a colonial provision, on account of what’s being utilized instantly inside the kind of Half 124A, is definitely the interpretation given by the court docket docket in 1962. Based totally on the aforementioned dialogue it might be inferred that the provisions of half 124A do not endure from any approved affirmation.

The Methodology Forward

The above discussions make it abundantly clear that Half 124A does not endure from any approved infirmity. The difficulty, personally, lies on the stage of the supervisor ie police. One among many potential causes could very nicely be attributed to the overlap between completely totally different provisions related to offenses in opposition to the State. In such a state of affairs a certain quantity of data and understanding is required to conclude as to which suppliers needs to be invoked in a given factual matrix. Subsequently, coaching and proper teaching of cops are warranted. If we do not work on the precise draw back, the problem will keep the similar, revocation would not help.

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

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