Apex court puts sedition law on hold; next hearing in July

New Delhi, May 11 (UNI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday put the sedition law on hold and restrained the central and state governments from registering any FIR under Section 124-A (sedition) while the colonial provision is take up for further hearing in July third week.

“All proceedings under Section 124-A shall be kept in abeyance. Proceedings under other sections of law will continue,” a three-judge Bench said. The court passed the interim order after hearing petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the sedition law in the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The apex court said those already booked under Section 124A and in jail could knock the doors of the competent courts for appropriate relief and bail. The court also asked the Centre to reconsider the sedition law. “Till the exercise of re-examination is complete, no case will be registered and taken up any investigation under this provision.”

The Union of India was at liberty to issue a directive and this Court’s directions are to be followed until further orders, it said.

The petitioners who challenged the constitutional validity of the sedition law are the Editors Guild of India, former Major General S G Vombatkere, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, journalist Anil Chamadia and many others.

Section 124-A deals with any speech that brings or seeks to bring into hatred or contempt or disaffection towards the government established by law a criminal offence punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Former Union Minister and veteran journalist Arun Shourie also moved the Supreme Court on the issue and said that sedition law violates of Articles 14 and 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

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