The Bihar police has done well to dub the complaint of sedition as “maliciously false” against 49 public spirited citizens, including Mani Ratnam, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen, Shubha Mudgal and Ramachandra Guha, who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July this year expressing concern about the increasing incidents of lynching. But it is inexplicable that the court in Muzaffarpur took cognizance of the complaint. Equally, it is very worrying that this outdated provision on sedition still remains in our law books. Uday Deb Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with sedition, was drafted by Thomas Babington Macaulay and included in the IPC in 1870. It is truly a colonial relic, and should have been junked decades ago. The exact provision is a classic example of deliberately ambiguous drafting, with a view to stifling dissent and debate. The clause reads: “Whosoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible interpretation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India” shall be punished with life imprisonment. Mahatma Gandhi called Section 124A “the prince among… Read full this story
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