P Chidambaram and Kiren Rijiju clash over the sedition law

15 May, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

Congress praised the Supreme Court's decision to put the sedition statute on hold on Wednesday, saying it sends a clear message to oppressors of dissent that "you can no longer repress the voice of...

While the UPA government had the poorest track record when it came to filing sedition cases, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju stressed that the BJP-led government would preserve India’s unity, integrity, and sovereignty, as well as people’s rights as established in the Constitution.

“Isn’t that why Nehru Ji introduced the First Amendment, and Smt Indira Gandhi made Section 124A a criminal offence for the first time in Indian history?” On Thursday, Rijiju tweeted. “And civilians were subjected to harassment, intimidation, and arrests during the Anna Movement & other anti-corruption movements?” he said.

This happened after Chidambaram retaliated against Rijiju earlier in the day, claiming that he had no jurisdiction to draw any “arbitrary Lakshman Rekha” after the Supreme Court put the application of sedition law on hold. Rijiju invoked “Lakshman Rekha,” which governs many institutions, including the Executive and the Judiciary, and stated no one should violate their “boundary” as the Supreme Court put the implementation of sedition law on hold.

Chidambaram responded by saying that the Indian Law Minister has no jurisdiction to draw any “arbitrary Lakshman Rekha” and that he should read Article 13 of the Constitution. “The Legislature cannot pass a bill that infringes the Fundamental Rights, and such a law cannot be allowed to remain on the books.” Many legal scholars believe the sedition statute contradicts Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution,” the former Union minister wrote on Twitter.

The Congress praised the Supreme Court’s decision to put the sedition statute on hold on Wednesday, saying it sends a clear message to oppressors of dissent that “you can no longer repress the voice of truth” and individuals who are critical of the government must be heard.