Berating country not sedition, right to offend is protected under free speech: Law Commission

Prime News, National (New Delhi), August 31:- The Law Commission on Thursday emphasised that the expression of a thought that is not in agreement with the country or the policy of the ruling government doesn’t come under the umbrella of sedition. A consultation paper on the subject stated that sedition charges can only be invoked where the intention behind any act is to overthrow the government with violence and illegal means.

Interestingly, the Commission also noted that in order to study revision of section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that deals with sedition, it should be taken into consideration that the United Kingdom, which introduced the section in the IPC, abolished the sedition laws ten years ago. The UK did not want to be quoted as an example of using such “draconian” laws, it observed.

The consultation paper also toyed with the idea of redefining sedition in a country like India, the largest democracy in the world, considering that right to free speech and expression was an essential ingredient of democracy that has been ensured as a fundamental right by the Constitution.  (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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