Increase jail term in sedition cases to 7 years: Law commission recommendation


Team Udayavani, Jun 3, 2023, 9:43 AM IST

Credit: Pixaby Photo

The Law Commission of India has recommended enhancing the jail term in sedition cases from a minimum of three years to seven years, contending that it would allow courts greater room to award punishment in accordance with the scale and gravity of the act committed.

In a report on the ‘Usage of the Law of Sedition’, the Commission said its earlier report had termed the punishment for Section 124A (law of sedition) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) “very odd” as it has provisions for either life imprisonment or a three-year jail term, but nothing in between.

The minimum punishment under the sedition law is paying fine.

“A comparison of the sentences as provided for offences in Chapter VI of the IPC suggests that there is a glaring disparity in the punishment prescribed for Section 124A,” the Commission said.

Chapter VI of the IPC deals with offences against the state.

“It is, therefore, suggested that the provision be revised to bring it in consonance with the scheme of punishment provided for other offences under Chapter VI. This would allow the courts greater room to award punishment for a case of sedition in accordance with the scale and gravity of the act committed,” the report said.

The Commission also suggested changes to the phrasing of Section 124A and added words “a tendency to incite violence or cause public disorder”.

The current Section 124A of IPC reads as follows: “Sedition-Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in lndia, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.”

However, the law commission has now recommended to alter the Section as: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in lndia, with a tendency to incite violence or cause public disorder shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.”

The Commission said the expression ‘tendency’ would mean mere inclination to incite violence or cause public disorder rather than proof of actual violence or imminent threat to violence.

Law commission chairman Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi (retd) had recently submitted the report to Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.

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