‘A weapon to attack anyone’: Modi’s government exploits a colonial-era sedition law to stifle dissent

The government is using a controversial law to stifle dissent in India, but a legal showdown is underway to review its constitutional validity, writes Namita Singh in Delhi

Saturday 14 August 2021 19:46
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<p>The Supreme Court of India has questioned the necessity of a colonial-era sedition law   </p>

The Supreme Court of India has questioned the necessity of a colonial-era sedition law

“Sedition is a colonial law. It suppresses freedoms. It was used against Mahatma Gandhi, [Bal Gangadhar] Tilak... Is this law necessary after 75 years of independence?” asked the chief justice of the Supreme Court of India earlier in July, in what was deemed to be an unprecedented judicial criticism of the law.

“The use of sedition is like giving a saw to the carpenter to cut a piece of wood, and he uses it to cut the entire forest itself,” added chief justice NV Ramana.

He made these remarks as the court heard petitions seeking to challenge the constitutional validity of a colonial-era law, also known as section 124A of the Indian Penal Code.

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