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Govt to relook and re-examine sedition law: Govt tells SC

The Centre asked the Supreme Court not to consider the petitions challenging sedition law and wait for reconsideration exercise to be conducted by Centre.

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New Delhi: The Center on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it wanted to relook and re-examine the Sedition law. 

In a detailed affidavit filed before the apex court, the Centre said that it wanted to work on removing outdated colonial laws. It said that the Prime Minister is cognisant of divergent views on sedition law, concerns raised about misuse,” the Centre said in its affidavit.

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The Centre asked the Supreme Court not to consider the petitions challenging sedition law and wait for reconsideration exercise to be conducted by Centre.

The Centre said that it was committed to maintain and protect sovereignty of the country. The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice NV Ramana is expected to hear the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of sedition law falls under Section 124-A (Sedition Law) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Centre said that it has decided to reexamine and reconsider section 124-A. The Centre in its affidavit also said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said when country is celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, government working to shed colonial baggage.

Home Ministry today filed the three page affidavit before the Supreme court on Sedition law, two days after it filed earlier saying that Kedarnath judgemnt that upheld Sedition law was correct.

A batch of petitions had been filed before the Supreme Court stating that uncertain measure of what constitutes seditious speech sparked a tussle between free speech and the law on sedition, which has been underway since the colonial era.

In 1898, explanation was inserted to the provision to clarify that fair criticism of the government shall not amount to sedition. 

The observations made by the Select Committee while inserting such provisions give an insight into the displeasure of the British in limiting the scope of the provision, which limited their powers to curtail rebellion” the Foundation for Media Professionals (FMP), one of the petitioners in the sedition case, said, in its petition filed before the Supreme Court.

“It is relevant to note, however, that the Indian courts have largely crusaded against regarding every unpleasant word as ‘actionable’, championing the cause of the media. However, with the evolution of the internet-dependent society, it has become relevant more than ever, to scrutinize laws on sedition, particularly as such laws are instruments of the government,” the FMP said in its petition filed before the Supreme Court. 

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