GUWAHATI: The Supreme Court of India has recently observed that the colonial-era Sedition law- Section 124(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)- has been misused enormously and Assam tops the list with as many as 54 cases between 2014-19.
According to data revealed by the Union Home Ministry, a total of 326 cases were registered across the country under Section 124(A) between the years 2014 and 2019 and 559 persons were arrested.
Out of 54 cases from Assam, charge sheets were filed in 26 cases and 25 trials were completed without a single conviction.
The Rights and Risks Analysis Group (PRAG) stated that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states have dished out more sedition cases during the period.
Jharkhand registered 40 cases of sedition during the same period, out of which, charge sheet filed in 29 cases and trials were completed and only one convicted after completion of 16 trials.
As many as 31 cases were registered in Haryana out of which the only one was convicted. Karnataka registered 30 cases and Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala have registered 25 cases each.
Uttar Pradesh has a total of 17 cases and West Bengal has eight cases registered.
On the other hand, Delhi has registered four cases of sedition while one case registered in Maharashtra, Punjab, and Uttarakhand each.
“The data collected by the NCRB does not appear to reflect the actual number of sedition cases filed in the country. For example, the NCRB data stated that only 19 sedition cases were filed in Jharkhand during 2017 (1 case) and 2018 (18 cases) while the Jharkhand Police had filed 30 FIRs/cases against about 200 named accused and more than 10,000 unnamed people involved in the Pathalgadi movement of 2017-18,” said PRAG director Suhas Chakma.
“The vindictiveness of the State, the grudges of the offended nationalists, or motivated actions of political activists, who invoke sedition clause at the drop of a hat to silence the opponents and critics, cannot be regulated. The time has come for India to repeal Section 124A of the IPC relating to sedition,” Chakma added further.
The data of 2020 has not been compiled by the Home Ministry.
Meanwhile, The Supreme Court has asked the government that why it was not repealing the colonial provision used to “silence” people like Mahatma Gandhi to suppress the freedom movement.
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