Former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar has stated that sedition law is “totally useless” in a free democracy and has advocated for its abolition or extensive revision by the federal government.
Kumar in a tweet stated “Today, the extent of abuse of the #Sedition legislation has reached a point in national consciousness where it appears that continuing with colonial #law in a free society is completely superfluous. We should advocate for the repeal or comprehensive revision of this law.”
He further stated that the Supreme Court is not compelled to stay the hearing of the petitions questioning the sedition statute based on the Centre’s request.
On Monday, the central government informed the Supreme Court that it had decided to re-examine and reassess the terms of Section 124A, which criminalizes sedition, and asked the court not to hear the case until the subject was considered by the government.
In a new affidavit, the Centre stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is adamant that the baggage of colonial-era laws that have outlived their utility be removed during the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ period (75 years of independence).
In that spirit, the Indian government stated that it had repealed around 1,500 old legislation since 2014-15.
According to the Centre “It has also eliminated over 25,000 compliance requirements that were generating unneeded hardships for our country’s citizens. Several offences that were causing people unnecessary hardships have been decriminalized. This is a continuous process. These were laws and regulations that reeked of a colonial mindset and so have no place in modern-day India.”
Requesting the apex court to wait for the outcome of the case, the affidavit said “The Centre, fully cognizant of various views being expressed on the subject of sedition and also having considered concerns of civil liberties and human rights, while committed to maintaining and protecting the sovereignty and integrity of this great nation, has decided to reexamine and reconsider the provisions of Section 124A of the IPC, which can be done only before the competent forum.”