The British included the crime of sedition into the Indian Penal Code in 1870 in an attempt to crush political dissent. Before India gained its independence, the law was used to silence critics and dissidents in the country, and a number of freedom fighters, including Bal Gangadhar Tilak and in accordance with this clause, Mahatma Gandhi was tried. The fundamental goal of the post-independence era’s sedition laws was to limit expressions of hostility and disdain for the government and preserve the general calm and order. The legality of S. 124 of the IPC was maintained in the case of Kedar Nath v. State of Bihar on the grounds that power was the court ruled that every person has the right to freedom of speech and expression granted by article 19(1)(a) of our constitution, provided that it does not incite people to violence with the goal of causing public disorder. This right is necessary for the state to protect itself. 

But as things are right now, there has been a misuse of the sedition laws in our nation, and the number of sedition cases that have been brought has increased. For example, three students from Kashmir were accused of sedition in Agra for supposedly “posting celebratory messages” on social media following Pakistan’s Twenty20 cricket match triumph over India. There are certain similarities with the current S.G. Vombatkere case. The Supreme Court attempted to resolve the most important issue with the right to freedom of speech and expression in this ruling by reevaluating the legality of S.124A of the IPC. 


Kishore Wangkhemcha and Kanhaiya Lal Shukla, two journalists, were accused of sedition on February 17, 2021, while Mr. Wangkhemcha was denouncing the Manipur government and referring to Mr. Shukla and the chief minister as Hindutva puppets on social media for sharing cartoons depicting fictitious problems that the Gujarat police were purportedly involved in between 2002 and 2006. Nine other petitions challenging the sedition law have been tagged, in addition to those from Mr. Wangkhemcha and Mr. Shukla. One of these challenges, filed in the public interest, is from retired army general S.G. Vobatkere, who argues that Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, is unconstitutional because it violates Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, which is read in conjunction with Articles 14 and 21. Vombatkere has contested the constitutionality of the sedition legislation in his plea, arguing that it unnecessarily restricts the fundamental right to free expression and has a “chilling effect” on speech. 


  • Does the right to free speech and expression get violated by making sedition illegal?
  • Is making sedition illegal a “reasonable limitation” on the freedom of speech Dialogue and Interpretation?
  • Does the Right to Equity get in the way of the criminalization of sedition? 
  • Does the prohibition of sedition infringe upon an individual’s freedom and right to life?


Arguments of Petitioner:

The petitioner argues that the criminalization of the statute violates Art. 19(1)(a) because it places an unjustifiable restriction on the right to freedom of speech and expression and because it utilises an imprecise term of “disaffection towards government.” a chilly impression on the discourse. 

The petitioner argues that the Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India 1978 reading of Articles 14, 19, and 21 has advanced the process of testing legislation curbing fundamental rights based on proportionality, necessity, and reasonableness. 

According to the petitioner, a fair restriction under Article 19 depends on how proportionate the state’s action is. The state must demonstrate that the legislation imposing the restriction is the least restrictive option available. S124A of the IPC Finally, he argues that the Hon’ble Court should examine the constitutional validity of the contested provision independently of the ruling that upheld it in Kedar Nath, arguing that the court fails to strike a balance between reasonable restriction and the right to freedom of speech and expression. 

Arguments of Respondent:

According to the respondent, Kedar Nath Singh’s ruling is a binding decision that doesn’t require re-examination because it makes it abundantly evident that S.124A of the IPC complies with articles 19, 14, and 21. 

The respondent argues that a panel of three judges cannot review the ratio of the Kedar Nath judgement; only a larger bench may raise any questions about the ruling. 

The respondent argues that the growing instances of misuse of the mentioned provision do not warrant reevaluating the aforementioned ruling, as preventive actions can be implemented on an individual basis. The Indian solicitor general argues that the Kedar Nath Judgement did not declare political criticism to be seditious in and of itself. 


  1. The initial directive states that the temporary order will be in force until additional directives are given.
  2. As long as Section 124A is being reconsidered, the Supreme Court has ordered the federal and state governments to stop initiating new formal complaints, carrying out ongoing investigations, and using coercive measures.
  3. The impacted party may proceed to court and request redress if a new case is filed for the charge of sedition. 
  4. It has instructed the lower courts to consider the relief requested in light of both the Union of India’s ruling and the current order that was given.
  5. All ongoing trials, appeals, and other procedures pertaining to Section 124A will be placed on hold. 
  6. In order to avoid Section 124A from being abused or applied incorrectly, the Court has ordered the Central Government to instruct all state governments and Union territories to refrain from initiating new cases under the statute. 
  7. These guidelines will be in effect until this situation develops further.
  8. The former Chief Justice of India said in dictating the ruling that people who have already been arrested under Section 124A and are being held in detention facilities may petition the relevant courts for relief.

The decision’s aftermath from the Supreme Court
In the case of Aman Chopra v. the State of Rajasthan(2022), the Rajasthan High Court directed the state police to cease investigating claims made against Aman Chopra under Section 124A of the IPC Rajasthan. The Court issued these directives on the same day that the SC passed an interim order suspending the aforementioned clause. 


Section 124A of the IPC is referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as “the prince among the political sections designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen.” 

There has been a rise in the number of sedition registrations under the current situation. According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report from 2014, there were up to 47 sedition cases reported in 2014 alone, many of which lacked the elements of violence or incitement to violence required for the filing of a sedition complaint. Of these cases, the majority are frivolous. While Section 124A of the IPC does not fall under the category of reasonable restrictions, every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression subject to some reasonable limitations.

In reality, the law is being applied as a tool of oppression to silence any dissident politicians who speak out, and law enforcement officials have consistently disregarded the technicality that the sedition statute’s application is narrowly defined. For them, the experience is the punishment. of being brought before a judge. As a result, even in the event that a sedition accuser is finally found not guilty, he will still be subject to a drawn-out legal process as retribution for his alleged “anti-government attitude.” In India, there has been a persistent attack on press freedom; it is a journalist’s right to critique the government fairly; it is not sedition. 

Promote. The book “A Constitution To Keep: Sedition And Free Speech In Modern India” by Rohan J. Alva aims to clarify the significance of freedom of speech and its part in keeping Indian democracy intact. The book tries to present a strong argument in favour of constitutional protection for political speech and demonstrates how this can be accomplished without compromising the integrity of national conversation. The Indian Penal Code’s Section 124A has outlived its use in contemporary, democratic India. Although the 1962 court upheld the statute’s validity, things have changed since then. Subsequent laws have been passed to safeguard public order and state security using less stringent methods. 

India’s aim behind the sedition statute was to safeguard state integrity and maintain public order; however, this has been misused in recent times, as seen in the case of Zanskar Marathe against The State of Maharashtra Furthermore, in 2015, a prominent political cartoonist named Azeem Trivedi was taken into custody on accusations of sedition after a political activist claimed that his drawings denigrated the nation. The statute will be purposefully interpreted by the court to determine if the remedy for which it was enacted has been sought. If not, the statute will be amended to address the restriction and enhance Article 19(2). 


People can express themselves freely in a free society without worrying about retaliation. This includes the freedom to express one’s thoughts without hindrance and the ability to look for, receive, and share knowledge via any media, irrespective of the government in power. One of the most important human rights that is necessary for the progress and defence of democracy and human rights is the freedom of expression. It enables people to freely engage in their community’s cultural life, express their right to freedom of assembly and association, protest injustice, and appreciate and produce art. Although there may be restrictions on the right to free speech, these must be permitted by law and be appropriate for a democratic society. Undoubtedly, the sedition legislation was impeding the exercise of free expression. Dealing with this dark law is difficult because it is an offence for which there is no bail. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling has brought about a great deal of relief because it guarantees the right to freely express oneself in good faith. This will impose restrictions on the ruling elite, preventing them from unfairly targeting their own people.

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