Monday, December 11, 2023

No case under Sedition Law can be filed until reexamination is completed; those charged can seek bail: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court granted the Central government permission on Wednesday to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalizes sedition.

The Supreme Court ruled that no case will be registered under IPC Section 124A until the re-examination process is completed and that those already charged with it can seek bail.

Section 124 of the IPC addresses the penalties for sedition offences.

“We had a lengthy discussion. This order is being carried out. In light of the foregoing, the Union of India concurs with the Court’s preliminary finding that the rigours of Section 124A are not in keeping with the current social milieu “During the hearing in the sedition law case on Wednesday, the Chief Justice of India stated.

‘We hope and trust that the Centre and the State will refrain from filing any FIRs invoking Section 124A of the IPC.’ “CJI stated.

Thursday is the next scheduled hearing in the sedition law case.

On Wednesday, the Centre informed the Supreme Court that cases under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) should be registered only when the area Superintendent of Police is satisfied with registering the case and provides reasons in writing.

A cognizable offence cannot be prevented from being registered; therefore, there must be a responsible officer for scrutiny, and his satisfaction is subject to judicial review, the Centre told the Supreme Court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, also informed the Supreme Court, which is hearing the sedition law case, that the Centre has prepared a draught for the law’s reconsideration.

According to the draught, a FIR with sedition charges will be registered only if a police officer of the rank of SP says there is a valid reason for it.

SG Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court that the gravity of each pending sedition case is unknown, but “perhaps there is a terror angle, or money laundering.” Finally, the pending cases are before a judicial forum, and we must have faith in the courts.”

The Centre informed the Supreme Court that issuing an order to stay the sedition provisions upheld by a Constitution bench may not be the best course of action.

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