The Common Cause NGO has approached the Supreme Court seeking to quash the misuse and misapplication of the sedition law (Section 124A IPC) by the State and Centre governments against journalists, students and intellectuals engaged in social activism. The NGO challenged the law in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The NGO has opposed that the illogical manner in which the sedition law was being invoked against activists was to create fear and to scuttle dissent.
The PIL has mentioned the cases of JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, Binayak Sen, anti-nuclear activists, Delhi University professor SAR Geelani, SP Udayakumar, Tamil folk singer S Kovan and the recent instance of invoking sedition charges against Amnesty India for organising a debate on Kashmir.
The PIL states that the sedition law, was contrary to the parameters laid down by the top court’s constitution bench more than 50 years ago in the Kedar Nath case.
The constitution bench, in its 1962 judgment, had said that the gist of the offence of sedition is “incitement to violence” or the “tendency or the intention to create public disorder”.
Referring to the National Crime Records Bureau report for 2014, the petition says that as many as 47 sedition cases were filed that year in nine states. Many of these cases did not involve violence or incitement to violence, which is a prerequisite for a sedition charge.