Parties stand divided over sedition law

February 16, 2016 02:33 am | Updated December 04, 2021 10:56 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

With Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president >Kanhaiya Kumar being charged with sedition , opinion across the political spectrum stands divided over what constitutes ‘sedition.’ Section 124 A of the IPC deals with sedition, a colonial-era law that is still held valid.

BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi read out the section that says anyone who, by words or signs, attempts to bring into hatred or contempt the government established by law is liable for life imprisonment. “Isn’t a slogan calling for breaking or destroying India inciting hatred or contempt for India? The definition itself is clear,” she said.

Congress leader >Anand Sharma , too, defended the >sedition law, saying it is a much-needed legislation in a nation-State, but cautioned against its misuse.

JD(U)’s KC Tyagi expressed a more nuanced view. “To involve in anti-national activities is different from sloganeering. Such slogans are certainly objectionable but not seditious. One can discuss anything. Sedition should mean commission of an anti-national act, like espionage or sharing national secrets with others,” he told The Hindu .

DP Tripathi of the NCP said: “Expression of opinion is no problem. So what if one expresses one? As far as I remember, when [C N] Annadurai was speaking in Delhi about separation of Tamil Nadu from India, there were people objecting to it. But [Jawaharlal] Nehru said let him speak; it’s his opinion.”

CPI’s D. Raja said he believed that the >sedition law as a colonial-era relic needed to go.

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