An Analysis of the Modern Offence of Sedition

An Analysis of the Modern Offence of Sedition

Volume 7 Issue 2 ()

Of all the laws that were inherited from the colonial regime in India, few have been as controversial as those related to seditious offences. Since independence, the law has been modified and interpreted to incorporate safe guards so it may withstand constitutional scrutiny. However, it still acts as an effective means to restrict free speech, and has been used by contemporary governments for reasons that are arguably similar to those of our former oppressive rulers. In this paper, we make a case in favour of repealing the law of sedition. Through an examination of how the law has been interpreted and applied by the courts even after it was read down in Kedar Nath v. Union of India, it is argued that it is indeterminate and vague by its very nature and cannot be applied uniformly. Further, the law was enacted by a colonial autocratic regime for a specific purpose, which cannot extend to a post-independence democratically elected government. An analysis of the cases of sedition before the High Courts and Supreme Court show that the offence of sedition is increasingly becoming obsolete. Problems of public order, which the law purportedly addresses, may instead be addressed through other laws that have been enacted for that specific purpose

Cite as: Nivedita Saxena & Siddhartha Srivastava, An Analysis of the Modern Offence of Sedition, 7 NUJS L. Rev. 121 (2014)