Explained: The Important Characteristics Related to Offence of Sedition in India

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To urge people to rise against the Government, or not to obey the lawful authority of the Government or to subvert or resist the authority amounts to 'disaffection' is sedition. However, suggesting a different form of government is not necessarily to bring the present government into hatred or contempt, thus it does not constitute Sedition.

New Delhi (AJRI): New Delhi (AJRI): The Law of Sedition has become one of most legally discussed subjects now days in India.

The Association of Judicial Reforms (India), working for  transparency and fairness in Indian Justice delivery system understands cruciality this issue for India and its citizens in era of openness thus referring an article in the interest of transparency and fairness in Indian Justice delivery system.

As Article is long therefore we are publishing this in parts with sole aim to make readers understand in capsules.

Today we will discuss the important characteristics related to offence of sedition

Some important characteristics related to offence of sedition are [

To urge people to rise against the Government, or not to obey the lawful authority of the Government or to subvert or resist the authority amounts to 'disaffection' is sedition. However, suggesting a different form of government is not necessarily to bring the present government into hatred or contempt, thus it does not constitute Sedition.

Disaffection may be excited in a number of ways: Writings of any kind, poem, drama, story, novel, may be used for Sedition. But the seditious writings if it remains in the hands of the author or unpublished does not constitute Sedition because publication of some kind is necessary. However this publication may be made in any manner, as for instances, by post. It can even take from of woodcut or engraving of any kind.

Not only the author of seditious matter but also whosoever uses in any way words or printed matter for the purposes of exciting feelings of disaffection is libel. Thus the printer, the publisher, the editor or the owner of the press of a seditious publication is also libel like the author unless he proves that he was absent and was not aware of the contents of the paper.

It is well settled now that intention of the accused forms an essential part of the offence of sedition. It is necessary to take into consideration the state of the country and of the public mind at the date of publication. Justice Strachey in Queen Empress v. Bal Gangadhar Tilak observed that intention must be gathered from the language of the articles. The time, the place, the circumstances, and the occasion of publication are important too.

Explanation 2 and 3 are more in the nature of exceptions to the section. The two together balance sedition and bona fide criticism. In Kedar Nath Singh, it was observed that "criticism of public measures or comments on Government action, however strongly worded, would be within reasonable limits and would be consistent with the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression."

In next post  we will discuss Offence of Sedition in India and the Offence of Sedition in England

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