Author: Parvathy. A, Lawyer, BBA LLB (Hons.), LLM in Taxation Laws, Thrissur, Kerala
The ability to speak and express oneself freely is a prerequisite for a person’s complete development. They serve as the cornerstone of every society that is free and democratic. The mother of all liberties, the freedom of speech and expression is the most fundamental and fundamental human right since it gives life purpose. However, the right to free speech frequently raises challenging issues like how much the government should be able to control how people behave. Since the foundation of this freedom is the individual’s autonomy, every restriction on that autonomy is closely scrutinized. Even yet, this right may occasionally be subject to reasonable restrictions in order to guarantee that it is exercised responsibly and that all citizens have the same access to it. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, defines sedition as a crime. Continual discussion surrounds the applicability of this clause in a sovereign, democratic country. There is concern that the Government may abuse this clause to stifle legitimate criticism and dissent. The majority of the global anti-sedition movement has resulted in many nations either relaxing or abolishing the ban. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda are among the democratic countries that have rejected sedition laws as undemocratic, unwanted, and unneeded. Human rights advocates, journalists, and attorneys have long contended that India’s sedition statute is outdated. Governments have utilised legislation implemented by the British government to quell the fight for freedom to stifle dissent and suppress critics. The Indian Penal Code’s Section 124A has no place in a modern, democratic nation, but a Supreme Court bench’s recent statement that it is time to reconsider its application and restrict its usage has revived hopes that the government may finally do away with it. The sedition laws of several nations have already been repealed or modified. Hence, the question is, why is India still bound by a law that the rest of the world has rejected?.