Sedition law is outdated

In a welcome move, the Supreme Court on Thursday questioned whether the sedition law was “still necessary after 75 years of independence” and described it as a British era law. Chief Justice NV Ramana questioned whether this colonial era law is still needed in the present India. The government’s top lawyer, Attorney General KK Venugopal, argued that the law should be retained with “guidelines.” Even though it is early days, the very fact that the SC has questioned the need for the sedition law gives hope to many who have been victims of this outdated law. Successive governments have used the sedition law to harass people who exposed their wrongdoings.

The law is a serious threat to the functioning of institutions and holds “enormous power” for misuse with no accountability for the executive, the court said, comparing it to a saw in the hands of an overzealous carpenter. The remark of the SC is very genuine. In most instances it has been seen that the sedition law has been brazenly misused. The ruling governments are always reluctant to strike it down. The Congress, which is calling for scrapping this law, also enormously used it when it was in power. Therefore, the chances of the government of India scrapping it are very low. The SC will have to take matters under it and strike down this anti-democracy colonial era law. The sedition law compromises the freedom of speech and expression. It has no place in a modern democracy like India.