Explained: The Status of Law of Sedition in India And England

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The Law of Sedition, as it existed in England, was abolished in 2010 by section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act, 2009 under Gordon Brown's Labour government.

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 of 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 the complexity on this issue in capsules.

Today we will discuss Offence of Sedition in India and the Offence of Sedition in England

Offence of Sedition in England

The provisions of section 124A of the I.P.C. are essentially based on common law. Until 1972, the Law of Sedition in England was uncodified. The offences involving sedition were the common law offences of seditious libel, seditious conspiracy and seditious words. There was a great deal of insecurity because of the lack of a statutory definition.

The Fox's Libel Act codified seditious libel for the first time in 1792. However, there was still no statutory definition for sedition. Sedition in the common law consists of any act done, or words spoken or written and published, which has or have a seditious tendency and is done or are spoken or written and published with a seditious intention.

Over a period, requirement of seditious intention and that the jury was the only judge to decide such an intention evolved as two safeguards in England.

The Law of Sedition, as it existed in England, was abolished in 2010 by section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act, 2009 under Gordon Brown's Labour government.

Offence of Sedition in India

In Ram Nandan v. State, the Allahabad High Court observed that in England " seditious libel consists of speaking words with a seditious intention" and that in colonies "...an intention to incite violence is not an ingredient of the offence of sedition" whereas in England it is.

It was only in Kedarnath singh v. State of Bihar  that the intention to incite violence or public disorder was held to be an essential condition of sedition. In next post we will discuss the Evolution Law of Sedition in India.

Amongst these laws was the draconian offence of sedition. The offence of sedition was imported, as section 124A of the I.P.C., from English law into Indian law during the British colonial rule.

The Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the validity of the law on sedition and has asked the government to refrain from filing any cases under the law until the review is complete.

In Next post we will discuss the Evolution of Law of Sedition in India through case law.

Source: This Article is excerpt of  an article written by Harshit Kumar, the Article was first published on website Legal Service India.com  and republished in the interest of justice .

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