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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

SC wants to remove ‘colonial’ Sedition law, but have threats from internal and external forces reduced?

Firstly, I abhor this ‘colonial’ brand. The Supreme Court itself has interpreted the law and is no longer a ‘colonial law’. Supreme Court in the Kedar Nath Singh v State of Bihar held that the law is constitutionally valid.

Secondly, the bottom line is that a state should not suppress speech on the grounds of sedition- this is a fair concern, however, what constitutes free speech has to be considered through the test of reasonableness under Article 19(2).

I also believe that free speech solely cannot be a reason to judge the validity of the law. I believe that criticising the government and even the state is fair but the freedom to criticise should never include freedom to rebel against the country or call for dissolution of the state.

Thirdly, Sovereignty is to a state what freedom is to an individual and the State has the inherent right to defend its territorial integrity. Bharat faces serious threats from internal as well as external forces.

Bharat is a post-colonial state that is still transforming itself into a stable and powerful state. The existential threat of survival of Bharat doesn’t stem from extreme polarisation but the lived reality of the partition of Bharat.

The secessionists organisations working within Bharat and the financial and logistical support given to them from external enemies of Bharat are well founded. So the argument that Bharat doesn’t face any threats is wrong.

I am against indiscriminate usage of sedition law, which is not only unconstitutional but counterproductive as it trivialises the seriousness of such laws and also weakens the legitimate right of the state to defend its sovereignty.

We need to draw a line between free speech and national security. Proportionality and reasonableness is required.

(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread of Kartikey Misra @dyeus_pater)

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